It takes me forever to find a place to build a home. It either has to be near a npc village, or in an extreme hills biome, built into the side of one. My first few days are usually spent searching for the right place to build my home.
You can't start tree without OPENING MINECRAFT though.
OT: I usually go and chop some wood until I get around half a stack of logs. Then I'll either try to find a swamp or an extremehills biome. In swamps I build a wooden shack. In hills, I just dig dwarf houses in the side of a mountain.
I chop down a few trees then make me a workbench and a couple of wood pickaxes. Then I go hunting for coal and hope there is some nearby. If I don't find any, then I hurry and work on making furnances and burning raw wood to make charcoal. If there is not a smallcave nearby for me to use as a temporary home then I dig into a nearby hill/mountain to make my home. I make me door and while it's night I dig me out a mini-mine to get quick resources. From there I just do whatever I feel like! B-)
When I start playing a survival I usually end up deleting and re-making worlds to find a perfect biome and spawn point. Sounds picky but I think its much easier when you have a good spawn point and a good biome to gather materials. From there I either build a house or go straight to mining. When I do go straight to mining I usually build a little headquarters within the cave I'm mining it, though it must be big enough and have enough ores and such around the area If I do decide to live there.
I immediately go for wood, get the basic tool set, then start looking for meat, exposed coal, and just enough cobblestone for a furnace.
Then I go scouting for a home location. I'm not too picky, but I like to have some water nearby, an Extreme Hills biome, and a Forest/Taiga biome. I prefer to be on a flat area beside the biomes that I want, then I go on trips to mine in the Extreme Hills at night. The forest scares me at night, so I only go there during the day.
My current survival castle is in this perfect location:
Situated on an open flat desert, taking up most of the biome area.
Village to the southwest corner (with 2 dungeons just below ground level).
Extreme Hills just to the northeast.
Forest on the south side.
Multiple pools of water in the desert - this has since been expanded into a lake.
Jungles far to the north and far to the east with rivers running through them as a source of clay.
The only thing I can't find is a swap, that and my villagers are all zombies...
Well, I start off very minimalist. Get wood, make pickaxe, get 5 stone. Make stone pickaxe and sword. The first thing I do after is look for 3 sheep so I can make a bed. Then I get up and start trekking, looking for a good place to settle. Unlike a lot of players, I don't look for flat places to build my house. I like to find cliffs, interesting natural formations, and sometimes mountains to build on top of and hollow out. If it takes a few days to find what I am looking for, I build a few huts for the nights, but I don't really start mining until I have settled in a place that I like and know I want to stay in.