Pay the Toll
Recently, our family took a rare day trip together to mark the end of summer. We traveled to Austin, Texas to gawk at the Texas State Capitol building and Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Both places were well worth the trip, by the way. I particularly enjoyed seeing the reconstructed remains of La Salle’s ship, the La Belle. So cool!
On the drive to Austin from Houston, we were presented with a choice: use the old, traditional roads or pay the tolls to access the bright, shiny new highway to get out of town.
Let me tell you, Kids, sometimes it’s worth paying the troll . . . Um . . . the toll. We cut at least thirty minutes from the first stretch of the journey. That stretch always takes at least an hour to navigate at the best of times. When we reached Austin, we used their tollway and saved more time. We spent our extra time sightseeing and eating a leisurely lunch.
Fewer traffic lights. Less road construction. Fewer idiots. See what I mean? More time for what mattered. Totally worth it! Would I recommend taking the toll roads at every opportunity? No way. But it seems both wise and frugal to make that decision on a case-by-case basis.
You knew I was going to apply this to real life, right? Well, here goes. I think it’s false economy to try to do everything yourself if there are experts around who can do the same task in a fraction of the time.
It’s false economy to spend weeks learning a new skill on your own if there are reasonably priced courses available to teach you the skill you need in a few days.
Sometimes, the toll road is worth the expense. You can putt-putt-putt your way to your goal, and you will eventually get there. What opportunities did you miss out on while you were doing it yourself or learning a new skill by cobbling together the information? That’s what is known as opportunity cost.
Don’t get me wrong; sometimes the hard way is the best way. Most often, though, the best way is a mixture of DIY and paying for help.
A couple of years ago, I bought the Scrivener software to help me organize my writing. A lot of writers buy Scrivener, try it out, and abandon it on their hard drives. It’s not that expensive, as software goes, so it’s not a big monetary loss. Most of those writers claim that it’s simply too hard to learn.
They work through some of the free tutorials, get lost, give up, and go back to using Microsoft Word. It works. I use Word almost every day. But is it really the best software for organizing a full-length novel? Those of us who have pushed through the Scrivener learning curve would answer no because it’s extraordinarily useful.
Scrivener has a steep learning curve because it has lots of bells and whistles. Some people can learn Scrivener on their own. That’s great. But I chose to take the toll road; I paid someone to teach it to me. And that investment saved me weeks of frustration and needless toil.
I Sound Like a Commercial
This isn’t a commercial for Scrivener; I just used my experience as an example. Take the long road when you can, but pay the toll when it makes sense.
This is another installment in the column, Are We There Yet?
Have you ever paid the toll to learn a new skill or get work done faster? Feel free to share.
Texas author, Kathrese McKee, writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life’s difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.
Learn more at http://www.kathresemckee.com