Words may not come easily for Mario Vargas Llosa, but the Nobel laureate says the work of creating them is something he endures to find joy.
The Peruvian writer, who won the 2010 Nobel Prize for literature, says a successful society minimizes the unhappiness of its people, and encourages them to resist failure.
Speaking Wednesday at Mexico City's Autonomous University, Vargas Llosa called on students to seek out their true calling, and to embrace it with the passion needed to succeed.
"I work, and I work hard precisely because I have an enormous difficulty in writing," he said. "Many times I sweat, I sweat ink, but with joy - suffering joy. And I wouldn't trade with anyone, for anything, this task."
The author of works such as "Conversation in the Cathedral" and "The Green House" said universities should help young people to discover their true vocations rather than chase wealth or power.
"The true success of a society is having reduced to the maximum human unhappiness, or having better prepared its people to resist misfortune, failure - that which we call unhappiness," he said.
As a young man, Vargas Llosa said he set out to study law, but then rejected a future as a lawyer in order to write.
During his time at Peru's Nacional University of San Marcos, during the dictatorship of Manuel Apolinar Odria, he saw that literature that attempted to deliver political messages was "condemned to fail because it introduces an element of propaganda that impedes the magic of fiction and provokes a rejection by the reader, who feels manipulated."
It was as a student, he said, that he came to identify with democracy and liberty, and to reject "any form of tyranny, of subjugation, of repression of the independent spirit."
Vargas Llosa is to appear at Mexico's Palace of Fine Arts on Sunday to present his theatrical adaptation of "A Thousand and One Nights." On Friday, he is to receive the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest honor Mexico bestows on foreigners.