The music that helps me be a more productive writer

I learned very quickly that I cannot listen to music with lyrics when I write. As much as I love to listen to my favourite bands, they hinder my productivity. When it comes to blogging and writing I like to listen to my favourite movie scores because they don’t distract me, and keep me motivated. When it comes to writing fiction and my WIP, it helps set the tone depending on the soundtrack. This is the music I have to listen to become a more productive writer.

The Mozart Effect theorised that listening to his music made you smarter. The reality is that listening to Mozart during a task can improve performance in the moment, but overall, music can’t made you more intelligent. However, Mozart isn’t the only musician who can help people with productivity, as other kinds of music work just as well. So in a way, science kinda does back up the notion that these soundtracks are great music to listen to become a more productive writer.

Pirates of the Caribbean score

I listen to so many versions of the scores from Pirates of the Carribean, which easily has one of the most iconic theme songs ever. While the legendary theme “He’s a Pirate” was composed by Klaus Badelt. Hans Zimmer took over for Dead Man’s Chest, and At World’s End. Out of the original Pirates trilogy (we don’t speak off On Stranger Tides, but Dead Men Tell No Tales redeemed the franchise a bit), my favourite soundtrack by a landslide is At World’s End.

One guy even took it upon himself to create a near 45-minute piano rendition of best tracks from all the movies and it’s breathtaking. The Pirates score is so big that it makes you feel like you can accomplish anything – which is just what you need when writing.

There’s so much content from fan-made mixes to set certain moods, to covers, and a whole 5-film discography that it was the only thing I listened to when I wrote.

Pirates of the caribbean at World's end cover - music to be more productive

Favourite songs:

Moonlight Serenade – Curse of the Black Pearl

One Day – At World’s End

What Shall We Die For – At World’s End

Hello Beastie – Dead Man’s Chest

Harry Potter score

Aside from Hedwig’s theme which is tied as the most iconic theme tune ever with He’s a Pirate. The only song on all the Harry Potter scores I really like is the Battle of Hogwarts. As much as I love Harry Potter, our of all these, the score’s overall are my least favourite to listen to. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like home when I hear it.

That said, a YouTube user, Ambient Worlds, made some mixes which are amazing! My favourite is the Rainy Night at Hogwarts mix, but they’re all lovely to write to. They didn’t just make a Harry Potter playlist – there’s also Lord of the Rings, Disney and more.

Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone movie cover - music to listen to become a more productive writer - hedwig's theme

Favourite songs:

The Battle of Hogwarts – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Hedwig’s Theme – Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone

Lily’s Theme – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Joker score

The Joker score is the newest addition to this list, and was easily the most acclaimed movie of 2019. You can read about what I thought of it here. The score sounds really sinister and eerie. It might unsettle others, but the book I’m writing is very dark and supernatural, so it’s perfect for writing spooky scenes.

The soundtrack itself was quite controversial, with Garry Glitter’s Rock and Roll Part 2 playing on the infamous stair scene. The song has actually been in a good few TV shows and movies over the years, but now I feel like people hear it and think of Joker. He got no royalties from Joker, which is what he deserves because he’s a convicted pedophile.

joker movie poster

Favourite songs:

Main Theme Joker OST

Call Me Joker

Defeated Clown

The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy is also a fairly recent addition to my playlist too. The Umbrella Academy very quickly became my favourite TV show, and exceeded my expectations having read the comics long before the show came out. The soundtrack itself got a lot of praise because it’s so wonderfully quirky – in fact, it was my most listened to album on Spotify. For the first time ever My Chemical Romance’s Welcome to the Black Parade wasn’t my number 1 played song – Gerard Way’s cover of Happy Together was! The song the show opened to was actually Lindsey Stirling’s rendition of the Phantom of the Opera but the rest of the score is composed by Jeff Russo. What else would you expect with Vanya being in an orchestra after all!?

the umbrella academy on netflix - music to listen to become a more productive writer - vanya's orchestra

Favourite songs

Vanya’s Orchestra (Part 1 and 2)


Phantom of the Opera

The Lion King Score

The Lion King score takes me way back into my childhood and is so comforting. Except for Stamped where I can pinpoint the exact moment Mufasa dies so I don’t like to listen to it, and still don’t watch that scene. Hans Zimmer reprised his role for the remake, but I listen to the original score much more than the updated version.

Hans Zimmer created the original score and came back again to do the remake. Personally, I prefer the original because of nostalgia but I’m not opposed to the updated score. Given that he also created the most iconic pop-cultura themes like Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, and The Dark Knight Trilogy – he deserves a lot of respect!

the lion king poster - music to listen to become a more productive writer

Favourite songs

This Land

King of Pride Rock

To Die for

Have you found music to listen to become a more productive writer? Do you listen to anything when you work or do you prefer silence?

10 thoughts on “The music that helps me be a more productive writer

  1. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics in when I’m working either, it’s too distracting. That’s interesting what you say about the Mozart Effect. I believe it’s something to do with Mozart employing mathematics when composing (I hope I haven’t dreamed that) to make his scores more logical and flow better. Perhaps that’s why people are more productive when they listen to him! Great post, love some of your other choices, especially Hans Zimmer 🙂

  2. Such a great post! I absolutely love the Pirates of the Caribbean score and the Harry Potter score too, I haven’t taken a proper listen to some of the others but I’m definitely going to check it out next time I have a project and want to work with some music. I also love these particular tracks: American Beauty (track 8) from the film American Beauty, River flows through you by Yiruma and The Shawshank Redemption main theme. Thanks for sharing your favourites x

  3. I adore listening to movie scores – they make me feel so motivated and I love being able to piece a single piece of music to a specific scene I’m writing. Listening to scores while writing actually makes me feel like a better writer and I always recommend others to listen to them – the Harry Potter ones are a firm favourite of mine!

  4. I can imagine Hans Zimmer stuff being great to listen to when writing.

    I find I am much more productive when I listen to music over the TV which is sometimes in the background.

    I might have to check out some of these suggestions x

  5. I am the same, I can’t listen to anything with lyrics as it’s too distracting for me. I tend to put a Spotify playlist on in the background, usually something with ‘chill’ in the title and that helps me relax and focus. I love the idea of listening to TV and film scores, I love the Lion King soundtrack! Thank you for sharing, really interesting post <3 xx

    Bexa |

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