Avanti Centrae is the author of the VanOps thriller series. You can read a sample from the series at her website, VanOps.net. You can also find out more about her here, see her books here, and read her last post here.
Do you ever feel stuck at work? Can’t find the answer to a thorny problem? Where do you turn? What do you do?
In this post, with Earth Day 2022 still visible in the rear-view mirror, I want to celebrate nature as muse and problem solver.
What? Wait? “You don’t sit inside on a keyboard all day, every day, penning thrillers and pounding the keyboard until your fingers bleed?”
I do some of my best work when I’m hiking.
The prologue of my next thriller came to me on a trail at Lake Tahoe. Fortunately, I was alone among the pines and able to find a shady spot where I could peck out the chapter on my phone.
Many scenes of my earlier books were written while I sat in a hanging chair under the pecan tree in my back yard. Funny how those tense action scenes come to me when I’m relaxed.
I’ve often wondered, what is it about being outside, surrounded by the flowers and the trees that gets my creative juices flowing?
Maybe it’s that when my longing for the great outdoors is satisfied, my mind can focus on other things. Maybe it’s that my body is usually walking, and the rhythm slows the busy part of my mind and allows the slower, more creative aspects of my subconscious to come to the fore. Perhaps it’s the joy and pleasure I get from watching the squirrels, the crimson birds, and the bright-yellow butterflies.
Plus, I usually get a little exercise. Or maybe it’s the movement that helps grease the mental wheels.
Whatever it is, it works. Whenever I get stuck, I need only head outside for a walk. That strategy worked when I was an IT executive, and works for me now when I’m figuring out a plot twist for my non-stop action thrillers.
Thank God for smartphones, as I can easily jot down my ideas and incorporate them later while I am sitting inside at my desk.
Of course, hiking isn’t good for editing; but for coming up with ideas, or working through problems, it works for me every time.
I often post pictures of my outdoor inspiration-hunting adventures on social media. I hope you’ll join me there to remark about your own outdoor activities.
So, I’m curious. Where do you find inspiration? What works for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.