Centering energy is in no way simply gathering it in your hands . I have no idea where you got that idea.
Creating energy is not possible. You can only gather it , harness it , use it and so forth but not create it . You cannot create energy. Well , you do not have to use the energy inside you , neither do you have to put it in your hands or palms to use it at all .
Alignment of energy and knowing when and where to cast a spell is while holding some minor relations , that is not it entirely . Alignment of energy is also more than that . It is hard to put into words but for example , when one says his or her energy is aligned , it can be said that his or her energy is moving smoothly and his or we energy centers are proper .
Aligning energies is a broad term and hard to put into words , but it does not need to be in relation to oneself either . Energy in alignment can be said when all of it in a way fit together . Date , time and location need not necessarily be a factor at all .
So if you ask me whether you are doing good so far , I would have to say you are not doing very well .
Look up "Centering" and Alignment of energy"