Geoff Gannon December 7, 2010

Tim Welland: 4 Great Investing Articles For You – From a Seeking Alpha Contributor

In an earlier post I said: “Feel free to send me anything you write. I’ll give you my thoughts. If it’s good – I’d be happy to share it on the blog.”

Well, Tim Welland – a contributor at Seeking Alpha – sent me 4 things he wrote. They’re all very good. So – like I said – I’m sharing them on the blog.

Obviously, you’re most interested in reading the articles to learn about the stocks Tim analyzes: Aerosonic (AIM)Hallwood (HWG)AmSurg (AMSG), and Air T (AIRT).

Should I buy? Should I sell? All that stuff.

Then go ahead and read them now:

Aerosonic: Rough Past, Bright Future

Hallwood Group: Compelling Valuation but Dangers Lurk

AmSurg: A Healing Investment

Why I’m Not Buying Air T (Right Now)

But for anyone reading this blog who happens to write their own investing blog – or is thinking about it – Tim’s articles are really good examples of really good investment writing. A lot of the stuff at Seeking Alpha – and elsewhere – is pretty weak. Very superficial.

I’ve been writing about Barnes & Noble (BKS) lately. You’re probably sick of hearing about it. Maybe you disagree with me. That’s fine. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me.

I do – however – mind a lot of the coverage of the Barnes & Noble story. When you’re doing investment writing you can’t just write from the top of your head. You can’t give us the same stuff everybody else gives us. You can’t say “my read of the market is…” without maybe, you know, citing some facts or figures. Or at least giving us a new line of analysis. Give us a new question to ask. A new stock to dig into. Give us something we can use.

Tim does that.

Each of these 4 articles is really, really good. And I’m not saying that because Tim was nice enough to read my blog and send me his articles. I’m saying it because part of what I do all day is read investment writing. And most of it is bad. Most of it is worse than bad. It’s financial furniture polish.

Honestly, I think we need more investment writing. And if you’re reading this blog and not doing some of your own writing, please consider it. We need you.

If you’re a terrible writer, I absolve you in advance. I’ve read investment articles by some pretty awful writers and I’ve enjoyed doing it. And I’ve read some investment articles by some pretty good writers and I’ve hated doing it.

So what is good investment writing?

Investment writing is thinking aloud.

All you have to do is write the way you think. Not the way writers write. Not the way you talk in real life. Just lay out your thoughts on the page. That’s it.

The tough part is the prep work.

More time goes into getting ready to write an investment article than the actual writing. And it’s not just about collecting data, citing facts, maybe drawing a pretty graph. If you put a gun to my head, I could fake that stuff in like two hours. I could give you some lovely data to accompany my 2,000 words and it would look like a lot of work went into it.

The real work is in the fluency. A short article written sentence to sentence with the fluency of someone who understands the stock they’re writing about and understands what they want to say about that stock takes much longer to write than an article twice as long and half as good.

As a rule: it doesn’t take longer to write longer. It takes longer to write better.

So if you’re wondering how to do investment writing well, read Tim’s articles. They’re really good. Really fluent. You can almost hear him thinking.

And think about doing some investment writing of your own. Like I said before: “Feel free to send me anything you write. I’ll give you my thoughts. If it’s good – I’d be happy to share it on the blog.”

Talk to Geoff About Investment Writing