What is it like to be... a poet, writer and spoken word artist?

Spoken word is a form of performance poetry that focuses on word play, sound and storytelling.

Suli Breaks is a poet, writer, spoken word artist and YouTuber. He has been writing poetry most of his life, but didn’t perform live on stage until 2008, during the last year of his Law degree. Suli didn’t really enjoy his studies, so decided to pursue his passion: spoken word poetry. In 2012, his "Why I Hate School but Love Education" video went viral and his YouTube channel now has over 320,000 subscribers and over 20 million views.

Scroll down for more information on skills, working hours and salary.

Spoken word artist Suli Breaks on what school subjects still help him in his career.

What skills do I need to be a spoken word artist?

It goes without saying that a creative mind, flair with words and passion for poetry are core skills that you will need in this job. Once your first poem is written though, you will also need:

  • excellent verbal communication skills - not only for public speaking but also for dealing with managers and clients

  • research skills and an interest in current affairs - your work needs to be meaningful to a contemporary audience

  • budgeting and maths skills.

The lowdown

What will I get paid? Poets and performing artists are normally self-employed, so you will decide or negotiate how much to charge for your work. You may also be given royalties. The UK Writers' Guild has a set of rates and agreements which cover several areas of the arts world.

Where will I work? You can write wherever you want, however you will need to travel nationally, or even internationally, to perform in venues that could range from tiny radio studios to huge theatres.

What are the working hours like? You'll choose your writing hours, but you will often need to perform in the evening or at weekends.

What qualifications do I need? None in particular - passion, enthusiasm and talent are more important. However, you will need confident English skills and performing experience would be a bonus.

Wondering about more careers in the media industry? You might also like:

What is it like to be... a music PR manager?
What is it like to be... a singer-songwriter?
What is it like to be... a journalist for Vice?