You have a good plan started.
May I suggest that you go to the Judging class and then GO JUDGE.
The class is one thing--getting in there and tasting the variety of entries and learning from the other judges is where you really really learn what flavors, textures, and presentations score well.
From that, you can determine your cooking goals and then it is just a matter of doing it.
Simply going to the class is a start--but really judging is where you learn the bulk of the information you need.
At least, that has been my experience so far.
Dig around in the Comp section postings and you will see a lot from competetors and judges that will help point the way.
Have fun--once you are hooked--it is all over
Chad calls it "The Dark Side"--for a reason
"Flirtin' with Disaster" BBQ Team (RETIRED)
FBA and KCBS Cook and Judge.
Former owner of a WSM, a Smokey Joe, a Charbroil Commercial gasser (junk), the legendary "StudeDera" and Sherman.
Now cooking with a Fast Eddy PG500
Proud Pellet guy cooking on real wood.