I’ve written about ending games before, but sometimes those endings are unplanned. Every now and then, a campaign will end suddenly, without your consent. When this happens, you have to keep the spark alive. Don’t let this extended break kill your love of running campaigns. There are a lot of things you can do to keep the torch burning.
The first thing to do is not panic. Don’t get upset, or angry, or blame anyone. Getting mad is only going to help contribute to your DM’s burnout. This is only going to lead to you wanting to DM again. Stay calm and look at it objectively. Life happens. So relax, and enjoy the new free time you have.
Think about it, you have the time now, you can expand your hobby, and you can take up a new game, anything you want. That miniatures game you’ve been coveting, take it up. That hot new roleplaying system, try it out. You have the bandwidth now to do the game you you want. But don’t stop running games.
Run some one-offs. Now’s the time to experiment with those new settings and systems you’ve been wanting to try. This is the time to do the things you’d never do with your normal group, to find new players, and discover new ways of running your table. Use this time to grow as a DM. Work on the weaknesses in your game, write adventures that wouldn’t have fit in your old campaign, and make yourself better for your next campaign.
This is the time to start planning that next game. You have the time to play with ideas and themes now. Make the world you’ve been daydreaming about for months. Your next game will be better from this forethought. The planning will lead to more rounded and robust world. You can take your time and make a game world you’ll be proud of.
And take some time to sit on the other side of the table. Playing gives you a better perspective on roleplaying than anything else. Seeing how others run games, build worlds, and approach adventures is a huge learning experience. By experiencing what others do right, you can absorb it and make it your own, if you like it.
So, instead of looking at this as a bad thing, look at it like this: you’re free. Like the man from the Twilight Zone, you have time now, just be careful with your glasses.