Tiny Waveform/Recording Levels

The last time I used audacity I used my rode NT1A mic, waveforms and sound were FINE.
The next time I logged in and recorded there were suddenly tiny waveforms and quiet volume.
I also tried my blue yeti microphone and the same thing happened…small waveform, quiet volume.
I need to record at a higher volume. I’ve tried preferences and sound. Did not work. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
1.Why doesn’t it work every time the same as it did last time?
2. How can I record at a “normal” volume with “normal” sized waveforms every time I record?

Thank you for helping. I’m so frustrated and I’m sure it’s simple. I had this issue once in the past and cannot figure out how it was resolved. =(

How is the NT1A connected to your computer?

If you look in the Windows Sound control panel, are you seeing a good strong input there?