The songwriters came up with the "Automatic" title first before writing the rest of the tune. Natalie Hemby recalled to The Boot
"You know, any time I would write with Miranda, because I would only see her for a few days, I would always be like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm gonna stockpile ideas and get ready' because I'd only have a few moments with her.
Nicolle Galyon and I, we were going to be writing with her, and she was like, 'I've gotta call it "Automatic,"' and I was like, 'Ah, that's a really cool title!' We kind of came up with just a tad bit of a melody, but, as usual, Miranda is great about jumping in on a song and, lyrically, just totally going for it and throwing out all the great lines.
We were writing in her condo in downtown Nashville that day, and we were just being kind of nostalgic about stuff, but really we started talking about her old truck … I had never driven a stick shift, so I had no idea what she was talking about, but we were talking about that, and we were talking about all kind of stuff - how you used to have to have a map before you could go anywhere. So we started writing from this perspective."