Ever heard of the term “writer’s block”? It’s a condition that’s associated with the writing profession and occurs when an author loses the ability to produce new work.
Writer’s block can vary in intensity. At times, it can be minor and last for a few minutes or hours. But there are also some extreme cases where the writer is unable to produce new content for YEARS.
Anyone can suffer from writer’s block, and it can even happen to the best of writers. J.K. Rowling, for instance, claims she suffered from this condition once during the writing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. She says that she felt paralyzed after the book was published and was unable to write for five weeks.
This frustrating condition can happen in trading as well, and I’d like to call it “trader’s block.”
Trader’s block normally occurs after a big win or loss. Those who suffer from this condition may have difficulty finding a new trade out of fear of not being able to replicate his/her success. But it can also happen out of fear of repeating a losing trade.
When you get struck with the dreaded trader’s block, you feel paralyzed and unable to pull the trigger on any trade. You find yourself looking for the perfect trade that never comes.
Coping with Trader’s Block
When traders realize they are experiencing trader’s block, they usually exert a lot of effort to get themselves out of the rut. This sometimes causes more harm than good as it results in a lot of forced trades. Trader’s block is like quicksand–the more you struggle, the more you’ll sink.
Instead of forcing the issue, what I advise you to do is to take it back to the fundamentals of trading. Review your trading system in its entirety. Relearn the philosophy behind it, the entry and exit conditions, and the risk management rules. Make adjustments if necessary based on recent experience.
Then, once you’ve taken all that in, look at the charts again. Find trades that are based on the standards of your proven trading system while disregarding your emotions. Push yourself to take the trades that fit your system even if you don’t “feel” like taking it.
It’ll be hard at first, but I believe resetting and taking it slow with renewed focus is the best way to overcome trader’s block. Once you get a routine going, you should be back to your old trading self.