Why You Should Sign up for Level Up

Why You Should Sign up for Level Up

(An Unpaid Testimonial by a Huge Productivity Geek Creative Type)

First thing’s first: I pitched this article to Caylee. She did not ask me to, nor is she compensating me for it, and I took way too long mulling over and writing it! Like I said in my previous article for this site, “I often don’t know what I think until I write it.” I wanted to write this article because Caylee’s course Level Up, The Creative’s Guide for Getting it Done, has had a significant influence on how I go about achieving my own goals, and because I’m obsessed and fascinated with productivity, doing it and the idea of it. Think of this like a Level Up testimonial from an overly enthusiastic fan about the ongoing lessons they learned and the insights they gained.

Why I Signed Up

I technically finished Level Up in 21 days, which is not suggested by the course! But, like I said above, obsessed with productivity here. A part of it is an unhealthy obsession with finding “the perfect system” to achieve my ever-growing list of goals, books to read, projects to start, projects to complete, etc. Somedays, I am more realistic about the unreality of this goal – most days, I am not because I am equal parts enthusiastic about and exhausted by the miracle of human consciousness. Combine these things together and you get a productivity geek who happens to also be a writer.

Also, Level Up is really pretty, and I like pretty things. In particular, I like things that are equal parts pretty and equal parts functional. Did I mention I am also a design geek?

So, basically I saw Level Up and salivated like any productivity-design geek creative type would. But, that’s not all there is to it, and I wouldn’t be “uncomfortably honest” (see bio) if I didn’t share that part of things. My therapist was on hiatus for the time. I felt stymied by my current work situation. I was in the process of losing a very important relationship and in complete denial about it. The act of writing paralyzed me. I was spending countless hours consuming information and tricking myself into doing things that appeared productive, but was really just stalling on my priorities. Oh, and I was, and still am frequently, plagued by self-doubt, a fear of failure, guilt, and all those big and little things that inhibit us from self-expression, creativity, and self-acceptance.

It’s not like Level Up solved all those issues, because nothing does. But, Level Up has helped in a multitude of little ways that have added up and continue adding up to bigger insights into myself and my own productivity habits. So, here a few big things I got out of working my way through Level Up.

Lesson 1: I have totally internalized “practical” as not creative.

We all have creative impulses. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic (a suggested reading from Level Up), she points out that humans have been creating art since the beginning, even if it did not serve an evident purpose. Yet, creativity for the sake of creativity is often treated like an indulgence, not a necessity, so we feel guilty when we do it. (I blame Calvinism.)

Aren’t there “more productive” things I should be doing like running this “important” errand, doing these chores, taking care of this person, and so on? Maybe I will feel less guilty if I can make some money off my creative habit? (Hint: Nope, you’ll just end up constantly overworking yourself because of it!) In some ways, I’ve had to trick myself by labeling creativity as necessary and always “productive,” even when it’s just for its own sake.

Lesson 2: I adapt myself to new systems and methods, rather than adapting them to me.

I love a new system to try! It’s like a new exciting challenge for me to master, and I love mastering things. I am competitive, I have a Master’s degree, I like gold stars! Personal coach, Toku, hits this desire on the nose:

The reason you want a perfect system is because, as a high performer, you are a master of systems. You’ve conquered educational institutions, corporate environments, and social circles. So, whenever you encounter a problem, you start looking for the perfect system to fix it.

See, “looking” is the key word there. Looking means I seek a perfect system rather than creating my own. One of my favorite things about Level Up is the space to experiment and try different things, which is also continued in the community afterwards. I have to tune into what I will actually do and use, not what my idealized self thinks I should be doing.

Lesson 3: My Idealized Self is a Passive-Aggressive Tool

Your idealized self, admit it, she’s kind of a tool and probably passive-aggressive. (It can’t just be me!) Idealized self has to accept that my love of sitting on the couch on Friday nights watching Netflix and drinking wine is a huge motivator that I have to exploit to be productive during the week. My idealized self tries to convince me that I will earn free time that I can then use towards my other goals, that I will make productivity the reward for productivity. Yeah, no, lizard me wants Gilmore Girls and wine, and she has to be satiated, so that person somewhere between idealized self and lizard me can get shit done.

You deserve a break. End of story.

Lesson 3: The fear of failure runs deep.

I am talking Mariana Trench deep. I don’t know if “overcoming” it is really a thing you do when it comes to the fear of failure. But, I do know continous practices that disrupt the fear are crucial – that usually means creating as a regular habit, that means writing or drawing anything, even when you feel the most unmotivated, so you can at least say you did it. That means carving out time for it, no matter what, so you can feel whole and human. For me in particular, that also means having spiritual habits that directly tie to my creativity because I need something outside of my head to kick around my own inner self-critic, or my passive-aggressive idealized self.

In sum, what you get out of Level Up will be your own. You will find lots of helpful hints, tips, shiny new things, and so on, as well as a healthy dose of a kick in the butt with a side of self-love. Experiment with these new things, adapt them to where you are right now. Talk to the community in Slack, say hi to me, message me directly if you want! But the sum of those parts is that you learn a thing or two about yourself and how you have to work with where you’re at to achieve your goals.

JENNA

Jenna is a writer, editor, and creator. She is arguably over-educated and most certainly uncomfortably honest.

Say hello on Twitter (and tell her Caylee says hi!)

Art Journal Pages Lately

Art Journal Pages Lately

I haven’t shared art journal pages on the blog for the longest time.

My style is absolutely everywhere.

This is what happens when things are in the air, when life is not the same, when my art room is a baby room. I won’t ever share the black pages I made before these.

I thought I had not made anything with everything that’s been happening, but I seem to have been prodding along in my own ways.

Creating is important. Always create, even when all you can manage is a little.

Art journal pages by Caylee Grey Art journal pages by Caylee Grey Art journal pages by Caylee Grey Art journal pages by Caylee Grey Art journal pages by Caylee Grey Art journal pages by Caylee Grey Art journal pages by Caylee Grey Art journal pages by Caylee Grey

Get Messy Season of Introspection

The Get Messy season of Introspection happened in June and July, so that should give you an idea of how my life has been for the past six months. I was able to do all the prompts in its own little journal, but not share it. Sometimes art just needs to come out.

Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection Art journal pages by Caylee Grey - Get Messy Season of Introspection

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Diary with Art Journaling

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Diary with Art Journaling

Over the next few weeks I have nine beautiful and uniquely talented artists sharing a visual guide to her favourite way to get creative. No words allowed as answers, just photos and images. If you’d like to go through the Visual Guide archives, they’re all grouped together under Guest Post Loveliness.

Today Anna is sharing a deeper look into art journaling and how she uses it to keep a diary. 

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

Give us an introduction to art journaling.

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

What are the must have tools to art journaling?

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

What advice do you have to noobs wanting to start art journaling?

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

Why do you create?

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

What does your creation station look like?

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

What is your favourite thing that you have made with art journaling?

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

How has art journaling impacted other creative aspects of your life?

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

What tips do you have for becoming better at art journaling?

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

A Visual Guide to Keeping a Creative Art Journal Diary • Artist Interview with Anna Papaioannou

Anna

Anna has started art journaling on 2012 as a way to remember all the pretty -or not- little things of her everyday life. She loves her tombow markers and recently she fell in love with brush scripting. Art journaling for her is just like a diary combining her two loves, drawing and memory keeping.

Say hello on her blog, and Instagram (and tell her Caylee says hi!)

A Visual Guide to Project Life

A Visual Guide to Project Life

Over the next few weeks I have nine beautiful and uniquely talented artists sharing a visual guide to her favourite way to get creative. No words allowed as answers, just photos and images. If you’d like to go through the Visual Guide archives, they’re all grouped together under Guest Post Loveliness.

Today Kelsey is sharing about my personal first love, Project Life.

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

Give us an introduction to Project Life.

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

What are the must-have tools for Project Life?

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

What advice do you have to noobs wanting to start?

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

Why do you create?

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

What does your creation station look like?

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

Are you a messy creator or a clean one?

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

What is your favourite thing that you have made?

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

What tips do you have for becoming great at Project Life?

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

A Visual Guide to Project Life • Artist Interview with Kelsey McEvoy

Kelsey

Kelsey McEvoy is a mama, wifey, soldier, athlete and habitual picture taker + memory maker. She lives just outside of Washington, D.C., with her kids and girlfriend, and believes in good books, making pretty things and lifting heavy shit.

Say hello on her blog, and Instagram (and tell her Caylee says hi!)

Kelsey is also currently teaching a pocket pages ecourse. It’s just as awesome as she is.

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself in Art Journaling

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself in Art Journaling

Over the next few weeks I have nine beautiful and uniquely talented artists sharing a visual guide to her favourite way to get creative. No words allowed as answers, just photos and images. If you’d like to go through the Visual Guide archives, they’re all grouped together under Guest Post Loveliness.

Today EmK is sharing her style of art journaling.

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

Give us an introduction to art journaling.

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

What are your must have tools for art journaling?

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

What advice do you have to noobs wanting to start art journaling?

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

What tips do you have for becoming an expert in art journaling

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

Are you a messy creator or a clean one?

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

How has art journaling impacted other non-creative aspects of your life?

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

What is your favorite thing that you have made in your art journal?

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

How do you express yourself through art journaling?

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

A Visual Guide to Expressing Yourself with Art Journaling • Artist Interview with EmK Wright

EmK

EmK Wright is a self taught artist with a passion for creating. She finds her true love in between the pages of her art journals, where she has been expressing herself for about 13 years. EmK has recently decided to share her love of color with the world, hoping to inspire those with a curiosity for art journaling who are looking to take the plunge into a world of creativity and self expression!

Say hello on her blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram (and tell her Caylee says hi!)

Pin It on Pinterest