Roger Cook penned the first draft. He recalled to The Tennessean
how he one day realized "a lot of the lyrical images were dumb." He was especially unhappy with a line that said, "the rising costs of getting high."
So Cook got together with Sam Hogin and the pair sat around until 2 o'clock one night, fine-tuning the lyric - they changed "the rising costs of getting high" to "the rising cost of gettin' by." Once he was happy with the lyric, Cook recorded a demo.
Two or three days after Cook did the demo, Don Williams' producer Garth Fundis asked Cook if had anything suitable for the singer's next album, and Cook suggested this song.