I unfortunately was busy last weekend and missed out on all the beta fun. However, from my previous experience with crafting (up to 20).
You have a few options for exp, and for leve quests, the big thing is to find the repeat leves. I believe you start running into them around 10 (so pretty much right away), and you make sure you craft enough to turn in multiple ones. They allow you to complete the leve up to 3 or 4 times before closing off the leve. Giving you a fairly healthy bonus.
Also, watch for cross-country leves (my term for the bouncing), you can get a leve in town that will take you out to the level of your leve that will have the best reward. There is then a leve out there that will give you the best reward back in town. You just go from out of town, back to town and out again. Create as many items as you want to do for the leve.
Other than that, it is crafting, just the idea of it does imply that it is repetitive, therefore "Grindy". There really is no way around this for the most part, and the higher you get the more it will be like this. This is what crafting really is, and believe it or not, there are a lot of people who enjoy this sort of play. Simple, unfocused, and cathartic.
And the higher level you get in a craft, the more grindy it will end up becoming. I can't imagine any way that the could not make it that way without destroying the economy or the functional use of crafting.