I can also attest that you can get away with artrociously sloppy and absent minded play all the way up to the final challenges (and I've gotten away with scandalously sloppy play even there at times). There is a thing that might be making all this sound condescending to you - the game lets you get away with more sloppy play after you unlock (quite a few) things and learn the ins and outs of (quite) a few mechanics.
If you're just starting out and don't have most things unlocked (shops, items, glyphs, preps, gods*, easier to kill monsters) and you're just begginning to grasp certain techniques and concepts, you probably don't have all that many options, have trouble recognizing the options you do have and have trouble seeing how whatever you do fits into an overall plan. Early kingdom / player development can be tricky.
Grats on being able to win with a fighter, though. That's not actually as easy as it sounds, especially early on. Every class plays quite differently untill you unlock all the gods and learn how to use them.**
*Gods really let you get away with stuff. Well, stuff they like, anyway.
**At which point a lot of them may start to play suspciciously simmilar XD
I almost got pwned by Shifty Brickwork!