As you begin to see the results of working in the manual mode you will like what you see as the photos are much richer in tones. Working in the manual mode is like being in the kitchen whipping up a recipe. Being that you will have 4 main ingredients with which to work, I'd suggest playing with each of those ingredients to understand what it does. The 4 ingredients are: aperture (f-stop), ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. The toughest of these ingredients is the aperture mainly because is counter intuitive. Normally when people work with numbers the higher the number the more. Such is not the case with the almighty f-stop. As you increase your f-stop, your aperature gets smaller, thus letting in less light. Pick one of the ingredients at a time and take the same photo using variations to see the impact it has.
ISO has profound importance here in the Pacific Northwest since we have little light at times. Cloudy days do make for lovely photos though. But you still want some light so that's where the ISO comes in. On a sunny day you won't need it so it should be set to 100. However on a cloudy consider at least 400 if you are outside and it's cloudy.
Working with your shutter speed which is how much light hits the sensor depending on your setting, keep the number low if you want the motion blurring if not, crank that number up to stop motion!
And last but not least is the white balance. With the advent of professional DSLR, I have found this part of the learning to be easy as the icons for each pretty much says it all. I have found with my Canon 6D however, that keeping it on AWB (automatic white balance) has served me well. Remember that all cameras are different though and make sure you have an understanding of white balance.
Many of these basic points discussed are features that all DSLR's have, but might behave differently. But the truth remains that there are alot of different elements that come into play when photographing so believe it or not, the manual mode is not always the answer!!