While you are language learning...
Don't be afraid to speak. Sure, perhaps you forgot that conjugation, or grammar rule, but what's the point if you can't speak it?
It's okay to make mistakes. Imperfection always comes before mastery. Just because you do everything perfect in your writing exercises doesn't mean you can speak the language smoothly like your mother tongue.
Just keep that in mind :) happy language learning.
Problem is, it's a bit difficult to find a native Japanese speaker in the Upper Midwest United States... oh well. I'll just talk to myself!
Even talking to yourself helps. Saying it out loud often will really help avoid embarrassment and build self-confidence while talking to natives. I understand you can't do that if others are living with you...see if they would like to chat with you in Japanese. I myself don't do this enough, but it will build your skills. Also, trying to communicate something useful can help with verb tenses.
Hope this helps! =)
^^^^ I agree. Also, it helps you shift your thinking - instead of trying to translate everything you see, you start to think in the language you are trying to learn. See how it's different? Besides, we all first learn how to talk through saying gibberish and listening.
There re many places on the internet you can meet Japanese people. IF you have skype or facetime or an app like that you can talk to actual Japanese people in Japan.
Talking practice can be as simple as talking with your pet or narrating getting dressed. It's not talking to a native speaker, but it gets you more comfortable and ready for when that time comes.
Keeping a blog or a journal or a vlog is helpful if there are no speakers around!
My French teacher always says that the only way to get fluent at French is to try try and try again and even if you miss an article or use the wrong conjunctions it's nothing to be ashamed of. The main part of communication is speaking Alors continue à parler! (so keep talking)