Start A Trading Journal

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How to Keep a Trading Journal the Easy Way

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Trading journals help traders track their trades and thoughts throughout the day. It’s a great tool because a thorough journal includes details beyond what you can see on your brokerage statement. It includes what market conditions were like and if you were distracted or made mistakes. It’s also where you can record strategy ideas which may arise as you trade throughout the day.

All traders should keep a trading journal, but day traders don’t have time to be spilling their guts on paper all day. Keeping a trading journal while trading — when the action is happening — actually could be counter-productive and lead to missed trades.

There’s an easy solution, though, that involves absolutely no handwriting and gives you a historical record of the exact market conditions you were facing on a particular day.

The Easy Way

A picture tells a thousand words, right? Perfect, let’s use a picture. Instead of writing about market conditions, mistakes, what went well, and new strategy ideas, take a screenshot of the trading day with some typed annotations on it.

Most traders mark up their charts throughout the day, drawing lines and marking indicator levels which help determine the trend and find possible reversal/target points. The chart shows the exact market conditions being traded. Intraday analyses can show your perception of the market that day — something words in a trading journal never could describe as well.

A picture is an easy way to keep a trading journal, but you must include certain things to make it useful when you look back at it for review.

How to Mark Your Charts

These basic guidelines for marking up your charts will make them useful for future reference.

  • Include an hour or two of price action before you begin trading, if applicable. This provides a context for what was happening when you started trading. You don’t need to include price action from the prior day. Doing this can help you better assess time frames to watch while trading.
  • Mark your start time with a vertical line or text note on the chart. It lets you know if you started trading early or late, and/or why you may have missed some trade signals earlier in the day.
  • Write down the times of major economic events you will be stepping aside for. When that time comes around, make a note again that you weren’t trading because of news.
  • Make text notes throughout the day about tendencies and market conditions you notice. If you make an error, make a note of it. If you miss a trade, make a note of it.
  • Keep as many trendlines and drawings on your chart as possible, assuming they don’t distract you. They help to show your future self how you were seeing the market in real time at any given moment.
  • Mark when you stop trading for the day with a vertical line or text note.
  • Type how many trades you made, how many winners, the total profit for winning trades, how many losers, the total loss for losing trades, and the net result. Avoid using dollars, which fluctuate based on position size. Instead, use pips for forex, cents for stocks, or ticks/points for futures. For example, if trading the ES Futures contract, instead of writing “4 winners, $400; 4 losers, $200 = net +$200,” write “4 winners, 8 points; 4 losers, 4 points = net +4 points.”

At the end of the trading day take a screenshot of your chart and paste it into a photo editor. It should include all the information above. If you can’t see everything on one chart, take two or three shots and save them separately.

Save each day with the date as its file name, and keep them in trading folder saved to an easily accessible location on your computer or in the cloud. Create subfolders for each year and month to make the files more easily searchable.

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Reviewing Your Journal

At the end of each week and month, go back and see what you did, notice common problems, and spot your strengths. These observations can help you exploit your strengths and highlight the areas you need to work on.

Taking screenshots is more effective at capturing information than you could by just writing in a journal. Plus, if you do want to write stuff down, you can do so right on your charts, or keep a written trading journal as well. Be diligent in this routine, so that you have every trade you make recorded.

Pricing and products

Pricing and products

Become a profitable trader. Start today.

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Edgewonk Trading Journal 2.0

Get the Edgewonk platform and start journaling your trades with the number 1 trading journal.

[Bundle] Trading Journal + Development Program

The optimal combination of the advanced Edgewonk trading journal and our unique trader development course.

Trader Development Program

The Edgewonk trader development program is the first and only course that shows traders how to become better step by step.

One-time payment. You only pay once. No hidden fees. Get access to the Forex, Stocks, Futures, Cryptocurrencies, CFD and Spreadbetting versions. Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.

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Price for all countries except EU: $ 197 USD

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What our users are saying.

“It’s vital to have a trading journal. I think they [Edgewonk] are doing incredible things in the field of journaling. I wish that it had been around when I started out. I probably would have gotten profitable a hell of a lot quicker.”

– Tom Dante, a professional forex and financial futures trader from London, UK about Edgewonk in his interview von Chatwithtraders

https://t.co/MwXbHUXea4 Probably the single greatest trading product ive ever bought. Incredible

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Testimonials found on this site are examples of specific customers. Your experience may be different. No compensation was provided for these testimonials.

5 Things You Must Have In Your Trading Journal

The answer to that question is simple…Everything.

You record everything you feel and do before the trade, during the trade, and after the trade has been completed.

Trading is a performance skill, regardless of your trading style or method.

There are many variables that lead to success, so you have to write down everything to determine your weak and strong points.

What to Write Down In Your Trade Journal

For traders, that means recording:

  • Who you are and your motivations for forex trading. To find the right trading method for you, you have to know who you are, your lifestyle considerations, and why you do the things you do.
  • Market views and philosophy. This is how you understand and frame the markets, and how you make the decisions to act and manage the risk to your account.
  • Observations of the market. Each day is different in the market, but that doesn’t mean there are certain “tendencies” or “behaviors” that you can take advantage of. With careful and consistent observation, you can find these “tendencies” and create or adjust your strategies to them. Also, if the environment changes, you’ll be on top of the situation and change with it!
  • Trading mistakes and missed opportunities. Mistakes and missed opportunities are just as detrimental to your success as the market going against your trade. Closing trades too early, not taking legit setups, entering the wrong entry levels or positions sizes, etc. should be recorded in your journal so that you avoid the same mistakes in the future.
  • Performance statistics. Many aspects of your forex trading performance can be quantified into hard data. This gives you a realistic, no BS picture of how you’re doing. Like Shakira’s hips, the numbers don’t lie. And sometimes a shot of reality can give you the kick in the butt you need to kick up your game!

Truth be told, this sounds like a lot.

Before we reveal our list, we just want to point that this is what we believe should be included in a trading plan.

We simply provide this list so you can have a better idea of what to include in your own plan, but you don’t necessarily have to follow it exactly.

The Bare Minimum: 5 Things You Must Keep In Your Trading Journal

All right, here are our 5 “must-have” elements of a forex trading journal:

  1. Potential trading area
  2. Entry trigger
  3. Position size
  4. Trade management rules
  5. Trade retrospective

Again, It’s up to you.

It’s your trading journal.

Remember, you are the one who’s going to benefit from writing a forex trading journal. So write down what you think you would benefit the most from!

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