Avanti Centrae is the award-winning author of the VanOps thriller series. You can find out more about her here.
You might not be an author, but have you ever been stuck trying to drum up an email for your manager? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a creative outlet like painting or sculpting. Or perhaps you just want to learn my secrets…
A little about me first. I’m the author of the international multi-award-winning and #1 bestselling VanOps thriller series. An instant Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller, The Lost Power took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, a bronze medal at the Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. Solstice Shadows also released as a Barnes and Noble bestseller, and quickly became a #1 Amazon bestseller, before winning a bronze medal at the Readers’ Favorite book awards and nabbing the Chanticleer Global Thrillers Genre Grand Prize.
But I wasn’t always a successful writer.
I went to college at Purdue and graduated with a degree in computer technology. A few years later, during a time of post-collegiate corporate dissatisfaction, when I lived near the beach in Los Angeles, California, I began practicing yoga and meditation. Float tanks were all the rage then, and I volunteered at a center called Altered States to have the ability to use the equipment during off hours. Besides the coffin-like flotation tanks, they also had meditation sound and light devices that put me into a relaxed state. Later, I had the opportunity to practice brain-wave biofeedback with a student of distinguished English biophysicist C. Maxwell Cade, who wrote The Awakened Mind. Using a special EEG machine, Cade studied the brain-wave patterns of monks, mystics, priests, and meditation experts, discovering a common brain-wave pattern. That pattern, like learning to walk, takes a little practice to achieve, but once you’ve got it, you can tap into your subconscious, and some would say, universal mind, at will.
Those were glorious times. And then I decided to get back into the information technology field…
During extended stretches at the computer, my meditation practice helped me to stay focused and kept my hair from catching on fire when the stress built up. I would take a mindful walk at lunch and come back to my desk with a clearer set of priorities to tackle during the afternoon.
Becoming an Author
About seven years ago, I decided to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a fiction author, and my meditation practice helped keep me sane while I wrote chapters after long days at the office. Eventually, I let go of the corporate world and now sometimes get stuck when plotting out exciting twists, or adding breathtaking conflict to a chapter. During those times, instead of making my fingers bleed on the keyboard, I lean into my meditation practice and allow my mind to drift into a creative space, where white-knuckle action scenes fountain up from the hidden recesses of my mind.
I write about heroes who have a conscience, and in each of my books one of the main protagonists meditates or learns to be mindful. How do I pull that off with action thrillers? Meditation and mindfulness are taught by the U.S. military because deployment takes a large physical and emotional toll on soldiers and covert operatives. Studies have shown exercises in staying present can prepare warriors for combat stress, help them perform better, and allow them to recover more quickly. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the New Zealand Defense Force and Britain’s Royal Navy have also given mindfulness training to some personnel to improve memory and performance. It works for my heroes.
It also works for me. I credit much of my success in life to my ability to be present and control my thoughts and emotions. My go-to tool when I’m upset, stressed, or stuck is always meditation.
Learning to Meditate
What are some ways to learn to meditate?
- Float tanks
- EEG Machines
- Yoga or Meditation Classes
- Tai Chi
- Meditation apps
- 1:1 coaching
When you feel stuck or are seeking more creative ideas, you can also try to get in the zone through less conventional means:
- Take a nap
- Go for a walk
- Enjoy a shower
- Play with non-dominant handwriting
I experimented with a variety of tools before I found a technique that worked for me. It was worth it. I encourage you to find your path to bliss and creativity.
Avanti’s books can be found on Amazon or wherever books are sold. The first six chapters of THE LOST POWER are free at www.avanticentrae.com.