Good stuff, valeria! Thanks for sharing it. I especially liked the Paint Yourself Back out of the Corner part. It's good to create a flexible concept that does not become pointless if your primary ambition is no longer feasible.
Maybe the only thing I'd add, and stress the importance of, is what expectations a noble player should reign in from day one (though I guess your article is more for nobles who have some play time under their belts and are not brand spanking new). Namely, the use of skills. There are exceptions, of course, but by and large you will be playing a relatively skill-less character. Make sure you're okay with this before you embark upon this new role. There's something of a trend for nobles fresh out of character generation to express an interest in sparring. I've done this before as well. It's my opinion that if you're interested in pursuing these activities on a regular basis, you might need to rethink the noble concept you had in mind. Many of you will reply and say yeah but I knew this one noble who used to... or I knew this other noble who always... I'm talking about what you can expect to do with your noble on a day to day basis and how you will be spending the majority of your time with him or her. And it won't be in a sparring hall or out hunting tregils (that's what your underlings are there for). This should be at the forefront of our thoughts as we contemplate creating a noble character. Understanding and accepting this will likely prevent us from instances of submitting a noble and storing a week or two later.
Though I think sticking with your role for even 7 or 8 months is a decent commitment. It depends what opportunities you create for others in that time, really. As Talia said, longevity does not equal success. But let's distinguish IC from OOC success. Even if senior ranks still existed, climbing to one does not equate success in my book. Neither does having a bunch of awards and medals for your character's "feats" at different RPTs. These should be seen as decoration more than anything. You won these things because you were in the right place at the right time. If you couldn't log on the day of an HRPT (and therefore not receive the award, or fancy title, or whatever) it doesn't make your character any less successful. To me successful characters don't even have to be chummy with their senior ranking family members. Hell, they could even be hated by them! They have to be providing opportunity for others, however large or small. And here I'd love to name some past nobles as examples of who I felt were successful characters, but it may be too IC. If you're lucky enough to be able to play on a day there's an RPT and get to help save the city from gith, or whatever, that's not success to me. Spend a solid 6 months assigning accomplishable goals for your underlings and others, have an active involvement with the player base, and whether you have 10 silver medals or 0, I think you did your time and deserve a pat on the back. You were a success. And no one's going to sigh if you feel it's time to store and pursue different roles at this point (though they may be sad to see you go just the same -- which if they do feel that way is also a success in its own right, one far more valuable than fancy titles and awards and saving cities from disaster).
What I hope can be deterred more frequently are instances of storing a few weeks after starting the new noble. If you've done your time and you feel you've had enough, no need to carry on. For those wishing to continue, but feel stuck in a rut, I'd view valeria's article as a check list to make sure I'm doing everything possible on my end, before considering storage. Thanks again, V.