Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm Taking A Break

The hybrid market is just over a year old and this blog is a year old in a little over a week.

No coincidence there. I started the blog because immediately after the hybrid began, I lost my ability to pull money out of the market consistently. After yesterday, I've gone back into the red for the month of February which means I've had a year to adjust to the hybrid, but something still is wrong with my trading. So instead of doing basically the same thing I've been doing for the last year and expecting something to change, I'm going to force a big change.

The fact of the matter is, I'm exhausted. While on paper you could look at my earnings last year and say I did okay, the number isn't telling the full story. I made over $100,000 last year, but $28,000 of that total came on one day in August. And half of it came in a three week period. The point, is that of the 250 trading days last year, I struggled for 80% of them.

That's a lot of bad trades, lots of stress, and lots of confidence-whacking.

For the last 9 years, whenever people have learned what I do, they normally have the following reaction, "You're a trader?" I guess I don't fit the stereotype of what people think a trader should be. For one thing, I look like I've lived in the Maine woods for about a year.

But really, people are just confused. They think traders are brokers... some of my closest friends still think I have "clients..." I don't think I have to explain the stereotype of a stockbroker, it's not pleasant. But traders don't want to sell things to people, and many, aren't overly interested in money. Traders are independent thinkers who want to test their ideas with action and be proven correct in the market. That said, there is nothing worse for a trader than to constantly be proven wrong, because it also means you're losing money.

Point is, despite my earnings, it's been a rough year, because I hate being wrong.

Anyway, the other thing people invariably say is, "Isn't that the most stressful job going?"

To that, I've always answered, "No. You know what stresses me out? The mere idea of having a boss." Trading never stressed me out because I was in control of myself and my profits. I rarely had down days, I could make my own schedule... it was easy! I couldn't figure out why everyone wasn't doing it.

Well guess what? That's changed. I'm a little stressed out right now and have been, for the better part of the last year.

So what's the plan?

First of all, I will not be blogging for the month of March. I've been posting for a year, a lot, and I've never really taken time away from it to catch my breath. I love the blog, I've learned a lot from it, and I've made many good "Internet friends." On a certain level, I hesitate to do this since the traffic here is growing every month (I'd argue I'm out of the third-tier, actually) but hopefully, you'll all be back with me in April.

Once you began to blog actively, it permeates your thinking. I mean, if I'm browsing the web and see something interesting, I save it so I can post it on the blog. If I accidentally pay $40 for a pizza, I think about turning the experience into a blog post. Just because I won't be posting for the next month doesn't mean I won't be thinking this way, and I imagine that come April there will be many "lost" Dinosaur Trader blog posts that I'll be able to share with you.

As for trading? Well, I'm lacking in discipline. I find myself making the same mistakes over and over despite my understanding that I'm making a mistake. Hope isn't a good trading strategy (sorry Barack). This is unbelievably frustrating and I credit this blog with raising my consciousness about my trading to the point where I realize I need to step back and look at things anew.

For March I will be trying a completely new strategy which I will discuss more when I come back in April.

As for the VO, I've been impressed with the blogging of new VO member Ainkurn and he's graciously accepted the burden of "herding the cats" each day and compiling the post. I'll track my results each day and post them here on April 1st.

Thanks for reading. See you in a month.