I'm only 21, but have already been confronted by The Fear. It jumped into my life just a few short months ago when I was plagued by an identity crisis of sorts. I'd always longed to express myself through writing - it was one of the few enjoyments that have stayed with me throughout my life - yet found myself realising that I hadn't actually written anything for months.
The Fear presented itself as such: devote myself to the life I had always imagined for myself (even if it means living off of toast and pasta for the rest of my life) or remain stuck in a hellish job just for a pay check.
Noticing the need for a change, I made a drastic decision and quit my job. I realised that I needed to spend a few months focusing solely on my writing, devoting myself to the characters I had envisioned in my head for years. Quitting my job wasn't an easy decision to make, and I've since relied entirely on ad revenues and the occasional freelancing job to pay the bills.
It isn't a particularly lucrative career path, and I'll probably never be a millionaire, but it's the happiest I've ever been in life. Sure, I could sell out and write a God awful book a la Fifty Shades to rake in the cash, but that would be the equivalent of making a deal with the devil in my mind. Yes, I'll have to return to employment eventually, but this time I won't allow myself to become a slave to the corporate machine.
Someone I know said to me a few months ago that "all writers want success" and that a writer with no money might as well not bother writing. They cannot imagine how wrong they are. I don't write for success, nor for monetary rewards. I write because I have to. And that's not something I'm expecting them to understand. After all, they haven't confronted The Fear, and I doubt they ever will.