No doubt that at some time in your life you have heard the phrase “writer’s block”. It is normally where a writer losses their inspiration and is unable to create any new work, these blocks can vary in their severity, sometimes lasting for minutes, and with some lasting years. Anyone can suffer from writer’s block, in fact, there have probably been timers in your life where you have needed to complete some work, whether it is written or otherwise and you have gone completely blank, you have no idea what to write or do, this is a form of writer’s block.
So how does this relate to trading? Well just as writers do, traders also get these blocks. These sorts of blocks can sometimes occur after a large win or loss, it can be caused for a number of different reasons, maybe you feel that you cant replicate the last big win, or you have a fear of another large loss, the block can simply palace you, not being able to get into the trade or even no longer being able to analyse the markets the same way that you used to, both of these things can prevent you from making trades even though you know you should.
So how do you manage to cope with trader’s block and what can you do to start getting over it? Firstly we will mention what not to do, as a traders block is the simple thing of not being able to put on a trade, do not try to force them, do not try to put on trades regardless of the markets conditions or your analysis, yes this will get you trading again but if we are being honest, it would just be a gamble. This sort of reckless trading will only lead to more issues and potential losses.
You need to be able to take things slowly and to start again from the beginning as with traders block, the more you struggle with it, the harder it will become to get out, much like quicksand, the way to get out is to relax rather than struggle. So the first thing that you need to do is to take a step back, move away from the computer and trading as a whole, this could just be a short break or a couple of days, you need to be able to try and clear your mind of what is causing the block, the memory of the big loss or thoughts of not replicating a large win, distract yourself with something else.
Now that you have a slightly clearer mind, we can go back to the beginning, we need to start fresh, you have a trading system that works, so we aren’t going to change anything in the way that you work or trade, what we will do though is going straight back to the start of that system. This is a way of re-learning what you know about your strategy and trading, re-learning it will give you the confidence and bring back your understanding of the system to help you begin trading again.
So now you have your strategy and the basics fresh in your mind, you can begin to look at the charts again, using your strategy and the analysis behind it, look for a trade based upon them. Remember that trading should be an emotionless thing, it is hard but it is the way it needs to be. With these initial trades keep the size small, this will help you get over the initial block, as the risk is lower so it should be easier to apply.
There are however those that experience a really strong version of traders block when walking away and trying out their old strategy just does not help. If this happens, the best thing that you can do is start over, well not entirely. Looking up a new strategy and learning it can help you to take the thoughts and memories of the previous strategy that caused the block out of your mind. Learning from scratch can renew your confidence and also motivation for trading as you are learning something new and fresh, this can give you a much fresher perspective of the markets. Once this has been done and you are up and trading again, you may be able to then move back to the previous strategy to try again, more often than not, you will now have the confidence to use this strategy again.
It is always hard to get over a trader’s block. In fact, it has the potential to completely derail your trading. It is all about rebuilding the routine that you had before, once you are able to get back into the rhythm of trading it will be far easier to get back into the system of trading that you used before. It is also worth remembering what you did and how it felt, as traders block has a habit of recurring and coming back, so if you have it in your memory what you did to get out of it, as well as the understanding that you can get over it will help you in the future should it occur again.