3 Questions to Ask in Finding Your Timeframe

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  • on December 29th, 2010

After sharing my thoughts for the past year, the parallels between writing and trading have become clear.  I do this to provoke thought in myself and hopefully some readers, and build a body of work for easy review…by myself or a prospective client.  I’m not an “elevator pitch” guy, don’t have that witty reply when I first meet someone.  Likewise, my trading efforts are heavy on preparation…I can shoot from the hip in the markets but have learned I execute better with a blueprint.

Profiting in markets is a combination of idea generation and execution…I’ve learned writing is the same.  Not sure of the proper yardstick, but it’s pretty easy to know when a post is well received.  And easy to hear crickets chirping when the idea doesn’t connect.

I’m new to writing, old to trading.  I find it odd that I had 2 Cs in four years of college, one in Freshman Comp and one in Philosophy…and what do I do now when not trading?  Write essays about my trading philosophy!

Writing is therapeutic.  It forces me to dig deeper in crystallizing the ideas roaming around my head.  If I can’t write it in a few hundred words, then I can’t execute it on a moment’s notice, can I?  Like trading, I think every idea is among my best ever, yet never know what readers/traders will view as a well-executed good idea.  I don’t write to fill my days, nor do I trade for the sake of trading.  I trade because I’m a trader, been doing it in various forms and will do it as long as I’m willing and able.  I love it, not for the thrill but for the challenge, the opportunity to be creative in a way only traders understand, the freedom from Corporate America, and of course the opportunity to buy more of that freedom and creativity by earning profits.

The biggest lesson I could share with anyone wanting to trade is to FIND YOUR TIMEFRAME.  Seriously.  Just as a writer needs to know whether he or she is a novelist or a daily columnist, a trader needs to know the following:

1) How often can I watch my positions?

2) How often do I want to evaluate their validity?

3) How many strong ideas can I come up with in a given week?

There’s more to it than that, but I spent 2003-2006 figuring out the questions to ask and one’s business model can be built on those 3 answers.  Mine are as follows:

1) I like to check in 3-5 times per day depending on conditions

2) I want to evaluate their validity on a daily basis

3) I can come up with 2-3 strong ideas in an average week

That’s it, those are the answers that define my need to watch and participate.  I could(but don’t) begrudge the fact that a mentor would have saved me years in getting to those questions.  My mentors were dead…Livermore, Watts, Wyckoff, or not available to me such as the greats in these books.

In this era the access to living operators is incredible.  I suggest finding the answers to your questions ASAP, and follow those willing to share a process that fits your lifestyle and psychology.  Reading the classics is great, but witnessing the ups and downs of today’s market wizards, while the game is unfolding, is the best education one can get.

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

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