My Google Universe: Google Reader

All the pre-published writers I know are in a time crunch. Why? Because writing is not their full-time job. There are bills to pay and kids to feed, and the additional time that can be squeezed out of the day needs to be spent writing, not trolling the internet.

However, writers are told to spend time learning about the publishing business, understanding ways to imiprove their craft, and keeping track of what is being published in their genre. And that takes time.

The Time Crunch
How many times have you clicked on a blog, only to spot an interesting blog title in the author's blog roll? An hour later you wonder how you ended up far from your starting point. Leapfrogging blogs is enjoyable, and can lead to some great blog discoveries, but it's a huge time waster.

The Sporadic Blogger
It's also annoying when you click on your bookmarked blog links for days in a row, only to discover that a particular blogger has not posted anything new for a week. Some bloggers with excellent material only post once a week, or even less, and you feel like you've wasted time checking every day. Put that time to better use.

Last week I highlighted the ways Google Notebook can help a writer. This week, we'll take a look at Google Reader.

Google Reader is another free development from the search engine giant. It allows you to read all your blogs from one easy screen. All the blogs with new posts are hightlighted, so you won't waste time checking on blogs that have no new postings.

All you do is click the button that says "add a new subscription" (Google Reader does require you to have a free Google account), and you're done. You can group your favorite blogs by type. I have blogs from agents, blogs from authors, miscellaneous writing blogs, and then my friends' blogs.

As I scroll through each blog, Google Reader automatically marks what I've read, so at a glance I can see which ones are unread. If I'm pressed for time, I can choose to see just a list of a blogs titles, in order to select which ones I'd like to read.

If I like a particular post, I can "star" it or "like" it to come back to it. Alternatively, I can share a blog post with friends, or email it to them.

Google Reader takes a look at what I've subscribed to, and makes suggestions based on my preferences. This is a great way to find blogs that I may not have found otherwise.

A few other places to read about Google Reader:

Jane Friedman explains how she uses Google Reader.

The Google Reader blog.

And here's some information about the newest Google Reader toy: Google Play. It uses your prefences to show you fun and interesting things on the web in a slideshow format.

How do you manage your blog reading?

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