Yesterday my darling aunt called. My cousin (whom I believe is a senior in high school) had an assignment to write a short story. As much as she wanted to, she simply could not get started. My aunt asked me if I could give her some advice or ideas to help her out. I thought I'd do the same for you. Keep in mind this applies equally well to deciding you're going to write a short story or deciding you're going to write a novel. Heck, it even applies to scholarly or work-related writing.
Step One: Decide you're going to write a story.
Step Two: Decide it's going to be brilliant. Imagine the response of your [teacher, classmates, reading group, agent] and how it will completely change the way they look at you.
Step Three: Open up Word.
Step Four: Stare at the blank white screen stretching on into infinity until your eyes begin to burn and your brain hurts from the sheer emptiness of it all.
Step Five: Check your email.
Step Six: Stare at the blank Word document again.
Step Seven: Realize you need music. Spend the next hour finding the perfect "mood" music for what you want to write.
Step Eight: Inspired by [insert perfect music here], click back over to Word document.
Step Nine: Change Facebook status to: [Your name here] is WRITING!!!
Step Ten: Stare at blank Word document. Decide you need a title. Brainstorm for the next hour.
Step Eleven: Come up with a GENIUS title. Proudly type "The Scent of Green Papayas" at the top of the document, followed by your name. Happily consider how easily a story will come now that you have such an amazing, literary title.
Step Twelve: Take a four hour break for snacks and naptime.
Step Thirteen: Refreshed, sit down and toy around with pen names for a while.
Step Fourteen: Realize to your horror that your genius title is actually the name of a Vietnamese foreign film you saw seven years ago.
Step Fifteen: Erase the title, pressing Backspace much harder than necessary.
Step Sixteen: Stare at the blank Word document until your eyes bleed.
Step Seventeen: Check Facebook. See that fourteen people have commented on your status, asking what you are writing. Feel both guilty and annoyed.
Step Eighteen: Slam your laptop shut and go to the movies. Tomorrow's a better day for writing, anyhow.
See? You never knew writing was so easy!