I went away to college in the fall of 1992. Didn't look at or even think about rpgs for almost four years. During that time, I learned that TSR was bought out by the company that made Magic The Gathering. (What?!)
Graduated from college and several more years went by. Work took up lots of time. Moved from Maryland to Florida to South Carolina to Connecticut to Hawaii and back to Maryland. It was now late 2001/early 2002. I heard that a 3rd Edition of DnD had been released. (?!?)
Jumped on the computer and did a little looking around. Wow! It was a completely new world: OGL. RPGNow.com. ENWorld. Malhavoc Press. (Who was this Monte Cooke character, anyway?) Mongoose. And lots more...
Of course, to me, the OGL was a brilliant and wonderful thing. "You mean that there are small (and obviously growing and thriving) companies out there making material for D&D? And that anybody could do the same provided they followed this OGL-thingy?" I immediately pulled out some old homebrew stuff that I had written years prior. [Of course, I didn't call it homebrew, because that term didn't exist yet (at least, it wasn't in my vocabulary).] Wonder if anything is suitable for publication? I obtained the submission guidelines for a couple of the companies out there--I think I still have the copy that Mongoose was using back then.
Then I stepped back and really took a look into it. I went to the local bookstore and took a look at the PH and DMG. Uh-oh. This 3rd Edition was a different beast. I was quite happy with AD&D. 3E (and then 3.5E) had, in my opinion, changed the game. So much for publishing...
I needed to learn the game, first. And that is typically extremely difficult (at least for me) when I don't have a gaming group. That put a real downer on the whole situation.
Of course, I started to have inklings of other possibilities. Perhaps, the dry spell had come to an end.