What Comes Next?

I started this year with a series of blogs looking back on some of the articles that I wrote for The Motley Fool back when I was a part of their Writer Development Program in 2011. The plan was to look back on all of my articles, something that was probably going to take me the better part of a year since I did write for them for almost two full years.

As you may have noticed, I’ve stepped away for that for the time being. It may be something I return to later; there are some articles that I really want to look at again as I move onto the next phase of my writing about investing here. I’m not sure if I will ever get to where I eventually wanted to go when I started this whole thing back in January; writing is hard even if it’s just writing about things that you’ve wrote before.

As I mentioned in my “kick-off” of Ten Days of Hamilton – which ended with this bonus review after I went to see the musical here in Salt Lake – I have some plans here on this very blog, even if it ultimately results in me just typing 800+ words into a machine and posting it for all of five people to actually read and care about. Maybe all the books are right that say writing regular content drives traffic, or maybe the people that write those books don’t actually make money from web traffic but instead from selling those books to people like me. I guess we’ll find out.

The more I try to start and stop this writing thing, the more I realize that it’s not an easy thing to do. I used to do it for a living, but even then it was the bare minimum required of me. I readily admit I could have done more, could have sought other opportunities, but it was just too easy to wait for earnings season every three months and spit out pithy takes about results that ultimately meant nothing and didn’t add anything to the conversation. I wasn’t well read then and I’m not well read now, and I’m okay with that.

All that said, I’m a firm believer that practice develops skills. I don’t know if there’s a limitation on it, i.e. you need to do something for thousands of hours in order to get skilled at it. But I do know that skills like writing, regardless of what you are doing it for, atrophy if you aren’t using it regularly. I don’t think I will ever become a professional writer again. I don’t really think that I will ever write a book or novel. But I work for an organization, and will for the foreseeable future, that writing is important. Writing can often be a dividing line between competence and just showing up, and like my current historical crush Alexander Hamilton, I intend to “write my way out” of mediocrity and hopefully ascend to the highest levels of my job.

Will writing posts about Hamilton, movies, investing, et al directly help this goal? Probably not, but it will be exercising a muscle frequently so when I need to write thousands of words about something related to my job it might be a little easier. And if that gives me the slightest leg up on someone who hasn’t been honing this skill, so be it.*

*And then there’s always the hope that someone important will see something I’ve written and offer me a side gig where I get paid for writing again, but that’s not my motivation.

After all that, let’s get back to the point of this post. This week, my writing goal is a series of posts about investing. Based on my background, I have a few people that ask me about investing and what to look for when deciding to purchase individual stocks. I’ve written on stuff like this in the past, and a lot of my thoughts on the matter are still the same. But I’ve decided to update it based on my current thoughts on the market and investing in general.

This will be a five part series, starting a little later today and running through the end of the week. This is the schedule I plan to follow:

Monday – My (Updated) Investment Philosophy
Tuesday – Investing 101 – Basic terminology and metrics
Wednesday – Following Your Investments
Thursday – What to Look For in Quarterly Earnings Releases
Friday – When to Buy – And When to Sell

I hope this series will be beneficial, and should have been the thing I did before delving into my “Fool Revisited” posts, but that’s neither here nor there. Feel free to go back and look at those posts now, as well as the future ones that I will be posting intermittently as I try to get through all my old articles. After this mini-series, I plan to give a little more insight for the plans writ large for this blog, and what you can expect going forward. Hopefully I can be a voice that you enjoy reading when I write about things you are interested in, and hopefully you will come along to wherever this journey takes me.

Until next time…

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