It will be scary, and not easy, but it is worth trying.
I had a very similar experience. I dreamed of being a professional guitar player as a teen. Then marriage and three daughters pushed that dream to the back burner. I needed a steady job. So I worked for the airlines for 27 years. Then one day my airline announced that they were contracting out our jobs. They said we could go to work for the contract company for about 1/3 the pay and no benefits. “Yeah, right. I’ll pass.” So I took a small severance and “early retirement” at age 47. Since all the airlines were in the toilet financially at the time, I had no desire to chase a dying career and start over at another airline. We sold our house, paid off our debt, and started renting.
I thought to myself, what can I do for a living? I had no skills other than loading airplanes (I started right out of high school) and playing guitar. So I started teaching guitar.
By the time we burned through my severance and unemployment (we had no savings — three daughters, remember), I had scraped up enough students to survive. My wife works also. She has to. But now that our children are grown and out of the house, we can live reasonably. Our only bills are rent and the electric bill — and groceries. We drive old cars that we save up and pay cash for and keep for as long as they run.
We are not rich, but we are happy. And I teach and play guitar for a living. It is actually much better than living under the weight of debt we were in before I lost my job (and we actually have savings now.) And teaching guitar sure beats crawling into airplane bellies in every kind of weather.
Teaching guitar is much like freelancing. You have a regular turnover of students and always need new ones to keep the money coming in.
I am not a freelance writer, so I have no advice in that department. But I do know that sometimes, life’s setbacks turn out to be blessings in disguise.
Keep the faith, and get busy.