How to Become a Short Story Author, Collected from the Internet:
1. Read the classics of your genre. There are at least 100 must read book per genre, not including sub-genres. Many of these books were written early last century. But they're classics.
2. Read the classics outside your genre. Prevents you from getting tunnel vision.
3. Join workshops. Learn how to critique and edit. Critique and edit hundreds of stories.
4. Read the market. Read 3-4 issues of the magazine you wish to submit to. Due to a 40:1 ration of rejections to acceptances, you should be reading at least 120-160 magazines. You also want to stay up to date.
5. Read the Year's Best, so you know what the cutting edge of your genre is.
6. Read slush. Nothing gives you an insight into what makes a good manuscript by reading hundreds of them.
7. Begin to write a story. Too late, you're DEAD!!!! Too bad, because once you have a few good short stories, you might be ready to write a novel. Of course, you now have to repeat 1-6 with the novel market in mind.