There’s a Japanese word that I love, kaizen, which means to constantly pursue perfection. It won’t be reached of course, but that doesn’t mean striving for your best isn’t a noble and good endeavor in its own right. I’ve done martial arts for a little over a decade and when I was going through the ranks my Senseis (instructors) always said that in order to get better we had to practice our skills on our own, and not only did we need to practice, but we needed to practice well- perfect practice makes perfect. While that isn’t always the case, practicing well can never hurt.
While there isn’t necessarily a right, wrong, or perfect way to do archaeology, I think it’s a skill that needs to be practiced to get good at. I’ve been in the field of CRM (cultural resource management) archaeology as a shovelbum (low-level techs that move from place to place a lot) for about 6 months and aside from being out of Arch work for a few months over the winter, I’ve had a pretty good stint of 3 jobs in the last 3-4 months. Let me be the first to admit, I’ve a lot of practicing to do.
Lately I’ve been reading several articles from William White’s, Succinct Research. It’s an archaeology blog and he mentions about the need to practice not only archaeology, but also writing skills in order to become a better writer for Archaeology reports. That’s my main motivation for starting a wordpress blog. A few professors at uni suggested the same thing, but I did well in nearly all of the writing assignments during school so I didn’t put much thought into writing in my off time. Especially when I could be doing something I deemed more fun and productive like reading, training martial arts, or working out.
My Dad has suggested I buy a website- actually that was for personal training that I’m trying to get under my belt as well, for when Arch work is scarce. I don’t think I’ll do that from the get-go though; perhaps later on when I get better at writing and have more cash from shovelbumming- and hopefully my soon-to-be-under-way side hustle of personal training as well.
While perfect practice may not apply in the case of something as subjective as writing, I think it’s definitely a skill that needs to be used and made better. So, here’s to kaizen.