Despite an enormous overnight thunderstorm, I finally got some good sleep last night and feel energized today. Crashed (me, not the storm) at about 7pm for about four hours, and then got seven more solid hours. Today's to-do list is simple: Transplant shrub, fix bare spots in lawn, go to the dump, and then have some fun (more on that below). Essentially, I'm going to pretty much shut down the trading brain until Sunday night.
Blog Reflections - Here are my current views on whether the blog is helping or hindering my results:
On the helpful side, yesterday's DAX posts #1 and #2 were strong examples of how talking through the market "out loud" helped me stay focused and off of the wrong side of the market. And despite initially front-running the early breakout signal and then not catching the majority of the first breakout, I was able to carve out some nice profits by (1) waiting for the first pullback, (2) catching the final short-cover spike, and perhaps most importantly - (3) NOT being on the wrong side of the subsequent cliff drop by paying more attention to the 3 Line Break signal than I might have otherwise. For example, given the extent of the DAX drop off the morning highs -- see the top chart of the second post -- there would have been many opportunities where the market "seemed" oversold and primed for a long re-entry, yet the primary signal (3LB) never went long. By commenting on "virtual" paper, I can say with conviction that doing so kept me out of what could have been a losing and frustrating situation.
This is perhaps the strongest evidence to date how the blog has helped me. And yesterday took a page right out of Dr. Steenbarger's The Psychology of Trading -- specifically page 40 that encourages traders to think out loud "as if you are delivering commentary to another person". I've said this before -- and I'll say it again -- Brett planted more seeds with those 318 pages than I could ever sow in a lifetime, and even after having read the book a few years ago, I've just now begun to truly water and fertilize those seeds that he planted. By the way, I know the specific page reference because I have no less than 24 Post-It markers sticking out of the right side of the book referencing key points. It's the most often-referenced book I have in my library. Simply put, it's a must-read for any serious trader.
Another benefit of the blog seems to be my ability to look back at past posts and draw conclusions of my own trading. For example, the word "tired" seems to occur too many times recently. So enough of that ... I'm going to stop simply talking about it and take some action, beginning with today where I'm going to do everything I can to have some fun, perhaps starting with a massage.
As far as whether the blog has hindered my trading at all, I sometimes wonder if I get distracted from market opportunities when I type during the day -- which is one reason I often type after a sequence is over except for small tidbits -- or whether it instead provides a healthy distraction to stay out of marginal opportunities. So far, I think it's been more the latter.
Another possible pitfall is that by choosing to openly share the blog with others, I may think I have to "perform" for people looking over my shoulder, a number which has grown over the last few months since I've been back "on the grid". Fortunately, I learned that hard lesson years ago when I wrote and taught for the industry, and have gotten well past any sense of needing to perform for anyone but myself. No one will ever be a greater critic of my trading but me, and my goal remains simply doing the best I can, and to leave no stone unturned in making that happen. I also continue to look forward to sharing my screw-ups along the journey ... which should instill the required humility to keep any ego in check.
Ultimately, time and the P&L will provide the most objective answer, as I compare pre-blog results with post-blog results toward the end of the year when I have a larger sample size of post-blog results. And while I won't tell people whether to trade or not, I do encourage those peeking over my shoulder if you do trade to continually seek ways to distance "yourself from yourself". Dr. Brett's seeds and a personal diary may be steps you can't afford not to pursue.
Enjoy the weekend.