Russ Eanes Turns the Walk of a Lifetime into a Writing and Consulting Career #143


Manage episode 241245585 series 1296083
By Marc Miller and Marc Miller - Career Designer for Career Pivot. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Russ Eanes enjoyed a long career as a publishing executive for the Mennonite church in the U.S. and Canada. With the disruption of the publishing industry and the decline in church membership and attendance, Russ found himself downsizing staff and merging locations until he was exhausted by it, so he downsized himself and took a sabbatical, including a walk on the Camino de Santiago. On that sabbatical, he found a new purpose. He is now publishing the story of his walk and starting a journey of teaching other walkers how to self-publish books chronicling their experiences.Marc is asking for your financial support for the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Please Donate monthly at to support this Podcast.

Key Takeaways:

[1:32] Marc welcomes you to Episode 143 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Career Pivot is the sponsor of this podcast; is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of life and our careers. Check out the blog and the other resources delivered to you, free of charge.

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[2:17] Marc’s expenses to put this podcast on are about $400.00 a month. After nearly 150 episodes, Marc is grateful for his growing audience. Marc needs help continuing to provide entertaining and mindful content. Marc is asking you for a donation of $5.00 a month but you can contribute as much or as little as you like. Every penny counts.

[3:27] If the Repurpose Your Career podcast is a part of your week and you love what Marc is doing, please support the podcast today. Go to to give. This link will be at the top of the show notes at

[3:55] Marc has uploaded the manuscript of Repurpose Your Career, Third Edition to KDP Amazon, the self-publishing arm of Proof copies of the paperback edition are in the hands of the volunteers of the Repurpose Your Career release team to review for fit and finish. The soft release of the book is days away, on September 12th.

[4:24] On September 12, the Kindle edition will be available for $.99. On September 16th, the paperback version will publish, but you can pre-order it now! Go to to find all the links to order your book, now.

[4:45] Marc has recorded many podcast guest appearances, some of which have already been published with more to come. Go to you’ll find all the links of all the podcast episodes.[4:58] Marc will be in Austin the week of September 22nd, the New Jersey area the week of September 29th, and D.C., the following week. Marc would love to meet his readers and listeners.

[5:13] Marc has multiple events planned for Austin, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Marc will then have a meet-and-greet in D.C. You can find the events on

[5:26] Next week, Marc will interview Nikki and David Yeager on the podcast. Nikki is David’s daughter and she wrote to Marc about her father’s decision to donate 100% of his children’s book proceeds to KIND, an organization that offers pro bono legal services and policy education to families who have been separated at the U.S. border.

[5:59] Nikki lives in Thailand. Her dad lives in Florida. Nikki is illustrating the books that her father wrote when she was a child. You can hear more at Marc was really touched by the story Nikki shared. Marc is way too familiar with what is going on at the border, having lived in Texas for many years and now living in Mexico.

[6:44] This week, Marc interviews Russ Eanes. Russ is a member of the Career Pivot Online Community who left his job more than a year ago at the age of 60. Russ suffered a double whammy: both his industry and his career path were disappearing.

[7:04] Come listen to his story of getting lost and finding his way to writing a book and starting a business to help others self-publish. Marc hopes you enjoy this episode.

[7:16] Marc welcomes Russ Eanes to the Repurpose Your Career podcast and invites Russ to relate what he did in the first half of life.

[8:01] Russ worked in ministry for several years in the Mennonite Church. Russ also has worked many years in publishing, which is his “real love.” Russ has also been a University administrator. He has explored several career paths. He is most interested in publishing, writing, editing, and anything literary.

[8:29] Most recently, Russ was at the top of his career, Executive Director for MennoMedia, the publisher for the Mennonite Church in the U.S. and Canada. They publish books, curriculum, music, and magazines. It required a lot of work and contact with the constituents, managing a sizeable staff at multiple locations in both countries.

[9:03] The publishing business and churches today are going through tremendous changes. Churches are decreasing in number. The publishing industry has been disrupted over the last few decades. A church publisher is at the nexus of that decline. After 11 years of downsizing, Russ was worn out and downsized himself, at age 60.

[10:53] Marc talks about his first tech startup being bought by Lucent and then spun out as Agere Systems. Marc was on the team picking who would be laid off.

[11:32] Russ needed a sabbatical. His wife suggested he take a year off and live on savings before getting back to work. Russ visited his son in South America, then biked across the UK. He fulfilled a long-held dream of walking the Camino de Santiago across Spain. He used that walking time to set a new pattern and pace for his life.

[13:24] Russ completed the walk in May of 2018 and then went home. He had an idea to start a business to help people self-publish. However, he felt that he no longer fit into the fast pace of American culture. He decided to write a book about his experiences walking on the Camino.

[15:00] During his walk on the Camino, his love of writing had re-awakened. He wrote letters home, emails, and social media posts. When he started his book, the writing poured out of him; it wasn’t like work. He had never wanted to write a book but now it came naturally. He worked with an editor and developed a style of writing by narration.

[16:16] He chronicled the journey of 500 miles over six weeks, telling of his experiences at different stages of the journey.

[16:51] For over 20 years, Russ had kept meeting people who had walked the Camino, and that created in him a desire to walk it, also. On the Camino, the unexpected happens, all the time. There are no schedules and no lists. You just take your bag and guidebook and walk about twenty-five kilometers a day.

[18:13] As a young man, Marc talks about the five weeks he took off, to hike Colorado and Utah. He hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It took Marc almost two weeks to lose track of the day of the week, and not care. Russ never had any idea of the day of the week on the Camino, but he did have a calendar.

[18:36] Russ only kept track of the day his wife was going to meet him — Friday, April 27.

[19:00] Marc has found, by living in Mexico, that there are a lot of things that used to be important to him that are no longer interesting. He is uncomfortable in the U.S.. Russ notes that everything you need is in a 16-pound pack on your back. Russ missed family on his trip, but the only material possessions he missed were books.

[19:29] Whenever Russ would stop and spend the night, if he found a book in English, he would devour it. He carried only a guidebook and a book on the history and culture of the towns on the Camino.

[20:06] After Russ started the book, with an editor, he was surprised by the amount of rewriting he needed to do. He ended up working with two editors. They kept pointing out patterns in his writing. After nine months of writing, by the time Russ started the last chapter, he had weeded out most of his bad writing habits.[20:46] Russ found that writing is tough mental work, and it exhausted him to write day after day, after day.

[21:01] Marc worked with Susan Lahey, who also worked with Russ. Marc says, “It doesn’t make any difference what you think — it’s what your readers think.” You have to get outside of your own head. A good editor will point out inconsistencies, redundancies, and problems that you don’t notice.

[22:00] Russ is publishing the book himself under the imprint he created, the Walker Press. He hopes to do more books and also help others through the process of self-publishing books about walking. Russ will publish the book on Labor Day. He is opening it on Amazon and IngramSpark, the main self-publishing channels in the U.S.

[22:31] Russ is working on promotional ideas, advertising, and a few events. Russ loves talking about his walk on the Camino. He took about 3,000 pictures, so he shows pictures when he makes a presentation.

[22:54] Russ has started working with the first few clients for self-publishing and hopes to find his capacity of how many people he can work with at a time.

[23:06] Russ has learned that he has a lot of fun in writing. It is a tremendous creative process. When Russ finished a chapter, he sent it out to a team of readers for their feedback. About 25 readers have given Russ excellent feedback, which was very valuable. Russ is very happy he has been able to fulfill a dream.

[24:11] Russ has also learned how much longer it takes than you might imagine. He originally thought he would have the book published five months ago. Russ has had to learn how to be his own boss and obey his boss. He realized that to get serious work done, he had to leave the house to escape the distractions of home.

[25:02] Russ went to a local coffee shop, three days a week, and hunkered down for several hours. Russ found it was a good atmosphere for writing.

[25:40] Russ chose readers from among his friends and family and from posts he put on Facebook, and on a forum for people who have an interest in the Camino de Santiago. He found a dozen readers who had walked the Camino. Russ says these are his best readers because they know the experience exactly.

[26:50] Marc says a lot of people don’t get started writing because they are not willing to go get feedback. They don’t want to hear that their writing needs work. Feedback is very important.

[27:24] Russ asks you, if you give feedback to a writer, to try to frame it in a positive way. The authors are writing about themselves! Russ’s wife is ruthless in marking grammar and punctuation errors and striking out words! Sometimes an editor or a reader is off, but mostly they are right.

[28:03] Russ set the publishing date of Labor Day, September 2, 2019, because he has a trip planned for the end of September to do a two-week walk between Rome and Florence in the Umbrian Mountains, with his wife, for their 40th wedding anniversary. Russ wanted the book out of the way to get ready for the walk.

[29:31] To learn more about Russ and his projects, go to or, or see the book, The Walk of a Lifetime: 500 Miles on the Camino de Santiago.

[30:30] Russ has been in the Career Pivot Online Community for about six months. He has found a lot of people like him, who hit the second half of life and are ready to take life and work at a different pace and try something different. Some have tried several different things. You discover you’re not alone. It gets Russ out of his own head.

[31:58] Marc thanks Russ for being on the Repurpose Your Career podcast and for being in the Career Pivot Online Community. Marc hopes you enjoyed this episode. Russ is on an interesting journey that is not over. If you are interested in his book or other projects, go to for the links to his book and website.

[32:35] The Career Pivot Membership Community continues to help the approximately 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project to grow and thrive. The community has moved on to the next phase where community members who have experienced success get to share their successes and teach others.

[32:51] This is a community where everyone is there to help everyone else out. They have been hovering at about 50 members for a while. Members are experiencing successes like going back to work, starting new businesses — even someone buying a franchise. Some leave the community when they’ve found success, while others stay.

[33:13] Their legacy stays with the community as they have built an extensive library of forum entries and discussions. Marc will be publishing shortly testimonials of what they got from being part of this community. There are successes in just about every week.

[33:44] Marc is recruiting members for the next cohort. If you are interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to

[33:59] Those who are in these initial cohorts set the direction. This is a paid membership community with group coaching and special content. More importantly, it’s a community where you can seek help. Please go to to learn more.

[34:22] Marc invites you to connect with him on Just include in the connection request that you listen to this podcast. You can look for Career Pivot on Facebook, LinkedIn, or @CareerPivot on Twitter.

[34:39] Please come back next week, when Marc interviews Nikki and David Yeager from David YayGrr Books.

[34:49] Please support this podcast by going to

[35:02] Marc thanks you for listening to the Repurpose Your Career podcast. You will find the show notes for this episode at

[35:18] Please hop over to and subscribe to get updates on this podcast and all the other happenings at Career Pivot. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, the Google Podcasts app, Podbean, the Overcast app, or the Spotify app. Marc will add to this list soon as he is finding new places to listen!

150 episodes