The Difficulty of Playing the Long Game / by Matthew Marchitto

I was reluctant to post this. After rereading it, I realized it has a negative tone that I don't like. I think it's indicative of the headspace I was in when I wrote it. But, maybe sharing it will help a few folks realize that they're not the only ones struggling with insecurities while we wander down the long road that is Artist's Avenue.


It can be hard doing something for a long time and not getting much back in return. That’s what it’s felt like writing for the past few years. It’s also frustratingly expected. The first few years are trudging through mud, all the while you might be planting the seeds of what will become a beautiful grand oak. Or you’ll learn too late that your soil is trash and nothing will grow.

You’ve got to have an unwavering focus on a moving target. It can feel like running in place, watching that target drift away. Like you’re really not good enough after all.

I haven’t been self-publishing anything for the last few years because I didn’t have it in me to play the long game. It was too much money for books no one would read. So I tried a different approach, submitting to traditional publishers. But it feels like I’m not writing fast enough. I want to be writing 1,000 words a day, making the equivalent of one novella a month. It never quite works out like that though. And it feels inadequate, but maybe part of this whole process is learning to go slow.

The novella I’m working one right now is pretty dang cool. I’m not sure what I should do with it when it’s done. I’ve been thinking of self-publishing it, and I don’t know why. I’m not good at marketing, don’t think I want to be good at it. My self-pubbed work always does poorly, never breaks even.

Maybe that’s part of playing the long game too. Just keep trudging, keep digging, make it at a loss because it doesn’t matter as long as you’re creating. I dunno man.