Hmm.... a very good question, Robert.
The thing is, it's relative. I can look back and pick various points at which I think a bunch of things clicked and date from then as "that's when I got it". But I do hope a future me will look upon my current state as equally benighted. That is to say, I *hope* I haven't "gotten good" yet.
I guess I have shifted gears somewhat, though, from feeling like I ought to try out lots of different styles and genres and tropes and so on, to noticing that I like perhaps altogether too much trying out different styles and tropes and genres, and perhaps I ought to settle on one sort of thing and go deeply into it, at least for a while. This is pretty theoretical at this point, mind you; I don't know which sort of thing to settle on. But I am less inclined than I was three years ago to try to tackle mysteries or westerns or sonnets or haiku or screenplays just for the hell of it.
I mean, if one comes along, I won't necessarily say no to it. But it would need to be pretty insistent in wanting to be written, since I now begin to know enough to be intimidated by the work of getting competent in a new form.
(Probably a new genre is less work than a new form; I might be more likely to try and write a mystery than a screenplay. In some future era when I have no day job I want to try to write historical fiction, or historical mysteries.)
In terms of a crysalis period, I think my "latent period", when I swore off writing between the ages of 19 and 27-ish, probably did me a lot of good. I think a lot was going on under the surface while I wasn't writing. Not, obviously, that this is prescriptive! Except in the sense that perhaps those who are blocked maybe shouldn't stress about it too much -- there's such a thing as lying fallow.
Once I got started again, I think everything I wrote for the first couple of years was absolute crap. Then a few lightning bolts like "The Ant King" and "The Orange" began to arrive, usually when I least expected them.
In some ways, actually, I sometimes think (or fear) that those are my best stories, at least along a certain axis. I had no idea how to reliably reproduce the conditions for their arrival, so most of what I was writing was still crap -- but I also didn't know enough to get in their way. I've since improved the mean and reduced the standard deviation -- but I may also have capped the maximum.
Anyway, after Clarion West I had more of an idea how to reliably write stuff that would at least get published.
Another way of looking at it is that probably as many of my ideas are crap as ever, but I tend to weed them out earlier in the process -- which has the downside of possible false positives, which might have been truly great...
I expect there will be some oscillation between getting good at things, but also "tight", constrained, and then breaking down the self-imposed rules, loosening up, and making a lot more mistakes again. I hope so, anyway.
It might be good to go into a cocoon every ten years.