And we're back. I apologize again for the last week. A death in the family had me flying trans-atlantic at a moment's notice, and it ate up the whole week and change that I had. But we're back now, and so we can continue forward.
The big challenge I find myself facing after said "drop everything and go" transatlantic flight is finding where I was in my games. I never realize just how much of my GMing and my world is maintained in my head until something happens and I lose it. This most recent trip did a good job of shaking all the fantasy out of my brain as the real world needed the space, but now that I'm back I find I need to get back into the swing of things. So let's talk about that.
Good, Detailed Notes
In the ideal world you could get back into your game by looking over some good, detailed notes that you took while running the game. They would tell you what is going on, where the PCs are, how the PCs are doing, and what you hope to do next. Notes can be a real life saver in that regard.
Unfortunately for me, I'm bad at keeping notes. I need to get better. If you're also bad at them, consider this a reminder about how useful notes can be. With one D&D game I was even writing the narrative down post session in a notebook. But that stopped for some reason. I need to get back into it.
Barring good session notes, I find reviewing my NPC notes/stats and other information can be a big help. Getting re-aquainted with NPCs involves getting re-acquainted with their goals and plans, which in turn helps to bring the world back into focus. If I know an NPC is looking to perform a coup, and another is looking to maintain the current royal bloodline, then I have an idea of what is going on in the world already.
Be sure to check both enemy and ally NPCs - and to have both - because it's always good to have the full perspective.
Speak To Your PCs
If something big just happened in your life, your players will understand if you lost part of your place in the game. So talk to your PCs, ask what is going on, ask what they think is going to happen. Don't give away secrets, but discuss the game with them and let them bring you back to speed.
Between those three things, you should be able to get your brain going again for game. If not, then you may need to own it. Otherwise, just pick up as you can and run with it. You'll get the flow going again. You just need to trust yourself.