Why the Writer Journey

        I want to share with you why I chose the writer journey. (Or it chose me) As the cliché says, nothing good comes easy. Everyone who writes knows this to be true.

        Why would any of us do it? To any rational human it makes no sense. Years of notes on scraps of paper jotted down after sudden flashes of insight in dreams, multiple revisions and rejections followed by small hints of encouragement; most of the writer gig tosses your heart out to the world to see how many folks might stomp on it.

        But yet we persist. Why? It can’t be for money. If you want to make money, I advise you start a new bluegrass band, pick up cans on the side of the road, or play the lottery, but for Heaven’s sake, don’t be a writer.

        I think we write from a compulsion to try to make sense out of a world gone half crazy. We persist because we think we might discover the truth. Our hearts won’t let us abandon the search. We write because we see the wicked become wealthy by the exploitation of the humble and can’t stand for it to go undocumented. We write to try to figure our own selves out. Maybe if we write tens of thousands of words a few hundred will stand out as memorable and our grandchildren might remember us by them. True immortality is in Heaven, but through art perhaps we can secure some tiny toehold of it here on Earth. We write because we have to.

        My mom was an English teacher. She taught me to love books, and took me to the library every week. She put me in a speed reading course when I wanted to play baseball. It saved my life. I never could hit Hog’s fastball. I was a lot better with books.

        My dad was a country doctor. I made house calls with him back when we only had three antibiotics. I was a smart but not brilliant kid, and both my parents thought I’d make a good doctor. They only had one reservation. I hate to tell you this ‘cause it sounds so sappy, but they worried I might be too sensitive. If one of the song birds died in the yard I was the type of kid of kid who would organize a funeral for it.

        After I became a doctor I saw much pain and suffering and a lot of injustice too. Sometimes it was all I could do to deal with it. Several times people told me I was different, and I needed to write a book. I recalled the words of Jerry Clower, “If you hear it three times, it’s scripture.”

        I saved notes. At first I asked why, and the only answer was “It will be revealed in time.” I waited. I stored thoughts in my computer. Years went by. Over time the reasons emerged. I began to write more.    

        One time a patient complained about my music. “Young man,” she said. “I like your doctoring alright, but I wish you wouldn’t play in that old band.”

        “Ma’am,” I replied. “I’m under a lot of stress in my work and I’m either gonna play in that band or take up drinking. You’re gonna have to make a choice.”

        I feel the same way about my efforts as a writer. I realize not everyone will like what I write. I know many will say I am too simple. I am unconcerned. My daughter says, “Daddy, you’re so simple you’re complicated to people.”

        I like that. If most of the world doesn’t understand I can live with it. At least my people get me. More important, by writing I came to understand myself better, and was able to articulate that insight via the written word. I hope it might help some other soul’s personal journey. With my blog I have found people around the world who also search for the truth through art. You can’t have too many friends like that. I’m thankful for every one of ‘em. Maybe I’m just too simple, but if that proves to be the only reason for my writer journey that’s good enough for me.

        Over my next few posts, I plan to share more with you about my writer journey and how my book came about. I figure if a country doc like me can get published there’s hope for all of us, and y’all might enjoy the saga.    

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: The Monday Morning Post, Writing


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31 Comments on “Why the Writer Journey”

  1. Carmen Claypool Says:

    Echoes of Jerry Clower…I knew I picked up on that. 🙂

    • drtombibey Says:


      One time Earl Scruggs told me Jerry Clower was one of his favorites. I agree.

      Jerry was from Mississippi and I’ve found a lot of true bluegrass kinship there.

      Dr. B

  2. Poppet Says:

    Hello Tom.

    This is a lovely post. I started out writing because it’s a way to make a difference in the world. The right people will be drawn to your work when they are ready. Despite the nature of most of my books, they definitely contain some ancient imagery and a lot of psychology. My plan was to use fiction to help people to think outside of the box. I needed to make a difference, and became a health writer, because I believe that if you can help just one person, all of that effort and research was worth it.

    Good luck on your journey



    • drtombibey Says:


      I sure agree with that one. Like you, I hope I can make at least a little difference in the world, and make people stop to think about things. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Dr. B

  3. seeds2sow Says:

    Dr. B,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow and the next day as I’ll finish up that little series about writing that I’ve started. My blog is meant to be a community blog and I encourage my creative friends to share their gifts and leave the results up to God. That’s pretty much how I feel about writing. I try not to focus on whether or not it’s ‘good enough’ or will meet the expectations of others (though I do believe in always trying to do our very best for Him). I finally realized that if God can use a donkey to communicate His message to Balaam, he can use me, too. 🙂 So this donkey just keeps on braying about the things He puts in my heart. How it is received is His job, not mine. 🙂 I believe that much of my calling is to be a cheerleader, to encourage others to do the same. I am a Sower of seeds and believing that “whoever sows generously will also reap generously” I keep my eyes open for ways to be faithful to that.

    I’ll be exploring your blog, thoroughly over the coming days, Dr. B, as it appears we are kindred spirits in more ways than one. I, too, have a band and though we’re not strictly bluegrass (we do some old-time, celtic, and Americana, too) we put enough in to play some festivals in the region. We’re a family band and I play with my husband, son, and daughter-in-law. Merlefest is my absolute favorite festival, and Mando Mania my favorite event there! Sure wish we could be a part of your People Mandolin’s journey. My son is a pretty good player and would love to get his hands on it! 🙂

    Jeanne aka His Kid

  4. […] been reading Dr. Tom Bibey’s blog, Stories of the Bluegrass Music Road,  for a good while now. I love his Southern style and the combination of music, writing and […]

  5. hmmmmm…sometimes I think I must just be vain. I write because I love it, because I’m good at it and to make others feel good. But mostly I write because I like that others read it and like it.
    My own journey to now has been bumpy when it comes to my writing, but I expect 99.999% of the folks who write would say the same thing.
    I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey.

  6. Billy Says:

    Good post. You write to help others in so doing a doc cures what ails himself. Nice prescription for anyone to take.

  7. I guess it would be the “it chose me.” I honestly didn’t know I was doing anything different than anyone else growing up. I never really thought about it. Looking back, I guess not too many sixth graders start (and abandon) their first book.
    The “why” is that it’s fun or a learning experience even if no one ever sees it. Especially if no one ever sees it.

  8. Martin Waddell Says:

    “We write because we see the wicked become wealthy by the exploitation of the humble and can’t stand for it to go undocumented.” I like that – I like that a lot. Reminds me of how, during the Nazi era, people took care to record the crimes which the Nazis committed, with little hope that the truth would come out, but eventually it did. Reminds me also of a couple of things that Solzhenitsyn said in his Nobel prize lecture in 1970 (don’t think he ever got to deliver the lecture, though). “Writers and artists can achieve more: they can conquer falsehood” and “One word of truth can conquer the whole world.” I ain’t no writer, so I deeply admire people like you who set out to conquer lies by writing the truth. Looking forward even more eagerly to your book coming out!

  9. Walker Says:

    Dr. B,
    I wrote this morning and had you delete it, something inspired I’m sure but now I can’t remember what is was!! Middle age.. geez.
    On my blog I wrote about you and the journey of writers this morning, but can’t really do your story justice, so hopefully my readers will pop over here.

    I’ve been following you now for probably a year, through my other anonymous blog. I love the stories, your small town Southern life touchs a cord for a young girl who grew up in a small Virginia town of 5oo where her father and his father and his before that grew up. You’ve got a great voice, and deserve to be published!

  10. pacejmiller Says:

    Thanks for letting me know about this post, Doc. I really enjoyed it, and to be honest, never gave much thought before to why it is that I want to write. It’s not for money or fame or even to leave something behind, and nothing as noble as wanting to change the world. Really, I still don’t know, but I do know that I enjoy it and want to keep doing it. That it makes me happy is a good enough reason for me!

  11. drtombibey Says:

    Folks these are such great comments.

    Billy, I guess writing can cure what ails ya.

    whatilearned, You are so right. If we learn by writing then it really doesn’t matter if it doesn’t go any further, it was still worthwhile.

    Martin, If we write it down eventually the truth will come to light, huh? And in the case of the terrible tragedy of the Nazis we should never forget. I love your quotes.

    Walker, Thanks so much. Yep, I’m just a small town boy with a big imagination who loved to read books.

    pacejmiller, Writing for my own enjoyment and making a bunch of new friends has been more than enough for me too.

    Dr. B

  12. Julius Says:

    Dr. B,
    I’ve heard this quote before ‘I recalled the words of Jerry Clower, “If you hear it three times, it’s scripture.”’ But it was a little different the way it was worded; it was one of my first days of medical school, and one of the professors was giving us tips on how to study: If the professor says it once, it’s important. If he/she says it twice, it’s really important. If he says it three times, it’s gonna be on the test.

    Just had to share that and hope it gets a laugh. Loved the post, Dr. B! Keep it up!!


    • drtombibey Says:


      You’re a smart young’un and a quick study, which is how you wound up a doctor.

      In med school I used to say I could read it once and make a ‘C,’ twice and get a ‘B’, but it took three times to make an ‘A.’ If I’d only had just a few more hours in the day…. oh well.

      Dr. B

  13. newt221 Says:

    You got it with the word persistence and need. We persist to try and “get it right” or should I say
    “get it write”. The need is the compulsion to put pen to page, finger to keyboard, or voice to tape. We do want to express what we think and feel. Not only so others understand….but to prove to others we understand.

    Guess I am being philosophical on this rainy day. But, I know you “get it”.

    Keep it up Doctor B. You inspire me….

  14. junebugger Says:

    I love reading about people’s take on WHY they write. It seems to be one of the great mysteries that every writer tries to solve. I completely agree with you. There is more sense of order in fiction than in reality. My imaginary world makes more sense than my real world. And the higher purpose to all hardship is more discernable in fiction, which sort of ends up giving me hope in my own life, or at least, offers escape from a life that I can’t quite see the purpose to at times because of the busy blur of having so much repetative tasks to do.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I agree. Abstract thought and writing are some of the main things that separate us from the rest of the animal world. In fiction we can find the truth. Sometimes the real world just won’t co-operate.

      Dr. B

  15. atozmom Says:

    Hey Doc,

    Love this! Writing is a compulsion which I believe is ordained by God as my life’s purpose. Subscribing now as I can’t wait to read the rest!

    • drtombibey Says:


      I agree 100%, and believe when we see bad things or suffer God allows us to write and work through it. It not only helps us figure it out as the writer, but might save some our fellow readers some pain and suffering if they learn from our experiences and the fact we took the time to write it down.

      Thanks so much for your comment; very insightful.

      Dr. B

  16. andihayes Says:

    Dr. B,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and I just wanted you to know that. I am pretty sure that I write to understand myself better.


  17. Lua Says:

    This was a wonderful post! Your journey is truly inspiring…
    I don’t know how many times I asked myself this question, and every time I come up with a different answer; I write because I cannot not write, I write because I want to tell a story, I write because I can, I write because I want (I need) the world to make sense, I need to express myself in an obsessive (and a little unhealthy) way, I write because I want to understand and the list goes on…
    “Daddy, you’re so simple you’re complicated to people.” This is absolutely brilliant 🙂

    • drtombibey Says:


      I have found the ones who are not satisfied about how they write are the ones I like to read. They are forever on a quest for a better way to say it.

      Thanks so much for your comment. You got to the heart of it all for old Doc in a hurry. Other than my wife my little daughter understands me better than any woman in the world. Thank the Lord they both accept me for who I am.

      Dr. B

  18. inkspeare Says:

    I think this blog will inspire many. I also think that simplicity opens the gates of inspiration. Some writers seem to be empaths also, and if one day you woke up and felt like the whole world hurt on you, you know what I mean. But it is those glimpses of humanity that inspires us to keep writing. Love your blog!

    • drtombibey Says:


      I live for those glimpses of humanity too. I write to find what we all have in common rather than what differences we might have.

      Thanks for dropping by; hope you’ll visit again.

      Dr. B

  19. Levonne Says:

    Dr. Bibey,
    I couldn’t stop reading your post. I wanted to stop as I have lots to do that I should be doing. But I couldn’t stop. Maybe that tells you something. I can relate!!!!

    • drtombibey Says:


      My goodness that is a very kind comment. I hope when my book comes out people will feel that way about it. It came from the heart so I just have to hope people accept me.

      I guess all of us writers hope someone will stop and read what we have to say. Thanks so much.

      Dr. B

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