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I was told in one of the workshops at the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Conference that my blog should not be longer than 250 words. Say what? Nor should it be told by Faith, the person, but rather, Faith Starr, the brand. Double what?

Being my stubborn self, I don't feel I can do that effectively and disagree completely. Sure, I'm a writer and have to promote my books but I'm also a person with fears, doubts, and insecurities like everyone else.

Applying the 6 rules above to my rationale for breaking the lesson learned at the conference looks something like this:

1. Trust Myself - I trust that if I portray my real self to others, flaws and all, just like my characters do in my novels, others will relate to me on a deeper level. I want that connection with my readers.

2. Break the Rules - I don't think there is a one size fits all model for anything we do. We have to make our own mistakes and learn from them. Maybe one day I'll change my blog format. But for now, I don't want to.

3. Don't Be Afraid to Fail - Okay, I admit it, I hate failure and rejection sucks. Who wouldn't agree? Getting rejection letters from multiple publishers broke my heart. It made me feel not good enough but I continued to push ahead anyway. Why?

4. Ignore the Naysayers - Not everyone will accept who I am and what I do. I can only control how I view myself. So yes, I got rejected from plenty of publishers but guess what? I also got accepted by one, three times! And yes, every time I get a review for one of my books, my heart races because I take such pride in my work that it hurts if others don't like it. But is that outlook realistic? No. Because unlike me, not everyone enjoys reading romance novels (my hubby being the perfect example) even though I can't imagine my life without them (or him), or reading books with BDSM themes. One of my sisters falls into that category. She won't open any of my books or discuss their plots with me. At first it hurt my feelings but I learned to accept what I just stated, which is, I can't please everyone. I can only follow my heart and continue along the path set in front of me even if others don't agree with it. It still stinks to hear negative comments because I'm sensitive with a soft heart as most romantics I believe are. But life comes with both good and bad. I have to force myself to focus on the good and let go of the bad.

5. Work Like Hell - Don't give up. I write, revise, write, revise, and write again until my wrists ache, my eyes and head hurt, and I can't think straight anymore. And then I continue to write.

6. Give Something Back - Yes, like in the form of my blog, for example, by providing food for thought for others who might be feeling the same way as I do in situations we face in life. We may be on different journeys but feelings are universal.

I define success in my writing role, as well as other role I play in life, as following my heart and dreams, not by numbers of books sold or money made. Those are secondary benefits. The real benefit for me is connecting with people on an emotional level whether it be as a wife, a mother, a friend, a sibling, or any other connection I make. I don't believe I can truly appreciate what I have if I don't give back in return.

Define what success means to you. Feel free to use these steps as a guide to assist in doing so and f**k the naysayers! We all matter and what we say counts even if others discredit or disagree with us.

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