Pancakes are one of the most classic breakfast foods. Strangely, though, I've heard of several people who are great cooks who for some reason could never master pancakes. I think this is from the need for patience! What I've noticed is that they either cant stop messing with it and trying to flip it prematurely or leaving it too long because they are distracted and burn them.
Once your batter is made how you like it, heat your pan/griddle/skillet. You may prefer your batter thicker or thinner, and that is partly how you determine your heat setting. Thinner batter = slightly lower temp. A trick to knowing when the pan is ready is to wet your fingers and flick water on the pan. It should instantly sizzle and disappear.
Pour your desired amount per pancake. One creative way that I've seen (which I havent tried yet unfortunately!) is to take an empty ketchup bottle and fill it with the batter. It makes it easier to control the pouring. So clever! But be sure you leave them alone. You'll begin to see bubbles on top of each pancake. You will also begin to see the edges lift from the pan. They wont be shiny raw anymore.
I use a slightly thicker batter so I tend to get less bubbles. So I often rely on watching the edges.
Once you get lots of bubbles, lifted edges or both, its time to flip. The first flip must be very gentle since the top side is still raw and will drip everywhere if rushed or done too early. Slow and controlled is key.
Once flipped, I press the done side so all the raw batter is able to be evenly heated. The same rule will apply for the edges on this second side, but it may not be as pronounced. You'll see the batter lose that shine and look more cake-like. I go ahead and flip them twice more just for good measure giving them a slight press.
Dont be worried about having perfect circle pancakes! I stopped that a long time ago. My kids dont care anyway. =)