"I had been wanting to see that play, so I was pleased when I won the tickets."
"I wanted to see that play, so I was pleased when I won the tickets."
"She had been trying to finish her degree that year."
"She was trying to finish her degree that year."
Which one is more common to be heard in conversation?
I was wanting to be the first -
I had wanted to be the first -
You can use both but we would normally use the second, the first sounds awkward.
Also, I did want to be the first.
In all cases, they are correct. However, we tend to use the easy way out when in a conversation; so we would gravitate to the the second sentence in both instances.