The English Skills Gained Through Consistency

Writing an English Diary

When I was an English learner (and I still am), I kept a diary in English. This practice has laid the foundation for my current English skills as an English instructor.

Why Did I Start Writing an English Diary?

I started writing an English diary because I wanted to write a letter to my favorite Hollywood actor at the time (Tom Cruise). Encouraged by my teacher at the English conversation school I was attending, I began keeping an English diary. Though it started as a light-hearted activity, it soon became a significant part of my life, making learning English enjoyable. I could feel my English skills improving day by day. Eventually, this led me to decide to study abroad. I believe it was the foundation in English that I built through my diary that enabled me to leave Japan. Through my diary, I gained more than I initially aimed for.

Now, I’d like to specifically share how my English skills changed through writing a diary and discuss effective ways to write one.

Understanding English Directly

When we try to express something in English, we first think in Japanese and then translate it into English. Writing an English diary became the perfect tool to create an “English-thinking brain” that understands English directly.

At first, writing sentences in English took a lot of time. I couldn’t think of English words at all. For the first month, it was a struggle as Japanese thoughts interfered. However, after two or three months, English phrases started coming to mind. After six months, my hand moved automatically, producing English phrases effortlessly. The once painful task of writing a diary became enjoyable. This marked the beginning of my deep immersion in English. Writing an English diary changed my life significantly.

After six months, I had already achieved my initial goal. A new goal emerged: I wanted to communicate in English. To achieve this, I continued writing my diary.

Through writing my diary for three to six months, I experienced changes in my writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills. I will share these experiences in detail.


The number of usable words increased significantly. Words that I previously knew but couldn’t use started appearing in my sentences, allowing me to express subtle nuances. By incorporating phrases from English expression collections, newspapers, and essays into my diary, I began using more natural English expressions. As the time needed to write my diary shortened, I started enjoying writing. Even now, writing is my favorite and strongest skill among the four English skills.


Reading helped improve my writing skills. Reading well-structured English texts taught me grammar, vocabulary, expressions, and logical content organization. I learned a lot about collocations, combinations of verbs, and prepositions from newspapers and essays. This exposure to natural English made me passionate about writing more English-like sentences in my diary. I still mimic and use expressions I find appealing.


Writing a lot also improves listening skills. Reading my diary aloud, understanding its meaning as I went, seemed to speed up my listening comprehension ability.


Expressions used in diaries often appear in daily conversations. Reading my diary aloud helped improve my speaking skills. By practicing aloud daily, I naturally began speaking English sentences. Even now, when speaking with native speakers, I often use expressions from my diary.

Writing an English diary enhanced my overall English skills, especially writing and speaking. These skills form the foundation of my current English abilities.

Practical Steps for Writing an English Diary

Starting with complex topics can make diary writing unpleasant. I recommend starting with a one-line English diary, taking no more than 10 minutes. I initially struggled with long writing sessions and complex expressions, making it painful. It’s important not to raise the bar too high until you feel comfortable. Start with the date, weather, and simple thoughts about your day. This approach helped me maintain the habit. Begin with manageable amounts, words, and grammar.

After continuing one-line diaries for a while, I wanted to express myself better in English. I wrote down interesting sentences from NHK radio courses, newspapers, and English expression collections and used them in my diary. This made writing more enjoyable as my ability to express myself grew. I was amazed at how easily I could write my diary. Though it took time to reach that point, I’m glad I didn’t give up. Consistency is key.

Bonus Tips: Dates and Weather Expressions

Date Formats:

British: 1st June 2024
American: June 1st, 2024
Weather Expressions:

Besides sunny, cloudy, rainy, there are bright, partly cloudy, foggy, windy. It was fun exploring weather expressions on international weather websites. When I later studied in England, I found that they have many weather expressions, likely due to the constantly changing weather. These expressions, often appearing in English exams, were easy to understand. These moments made me grateful for writing a diary.
Expressing Emotions in Your Diary

One aspect I focused on was expressing my emotions in my diary. Describing how I felt—happy, sad, excited—added depth to my diary. Being able to express subtle emotions in English has been invaluable in conversations with native speakers.

Here’s an example of how I organized vocabulary for emotions:

Happy: happy, glad, pleased
Sad: sad, unhappy, awful
Surprised: surprised, amazed, astonished
Writing these down helped organize my thoughts.

Self-Editing Your Diary

Editing your own diary helps identify common mistakes. Correcting my own writing helped me understand verb changes, proper tense usage, and basic grammar. Knowing my weak points helped save time reviewing tests. This skill is invaluable in my current teaching job, allowing me to effectively address students’ common mistakes.


Writing an English diary is an effective study method for English learners. You can start at any age and gain benefits at any time. It reduces resistance to writing in English and helps you naturally acquire expressions used in daily conversations. Eventually, you’ll understand English without translating from Japanese. This skill helps in reading, writing, listening, and speaking English naturally and quickly. An “English-thinking brain” is advantageous in exams and various situations.

I started my English diary to write a letter to a Hollywood star, but it brought me countless benefits. It led me to study abroad, significantly impacting my life. I wanted to experience English in its native environment, and the diary-prepared me to communicate effortlessly with people from various nationalities.

Now, Japan attracts many tourists, and communicating with them can be enjoyable. Knowing English opens many doors.

Why not start writing an English diary? It might just change your life.