I would just get on my knees and just start asking, but I have been told that I have to send blessings to the prophet (pbuh) or it won't be valid. That I should thank Allah swt first then bless the prophet (pbuh), confess a sin and then start asking. I just feel like I been making dua wrong.
As a hint what you are describing are AFAIK the recommendations of ibn Qayyim al Jawziyah (well i haven't heard of confess a sin in those, but the rest was included) I only heard them in a khotba or maybe maw'idah, i have not read them so maybe I missed a point. But one point in your list is missing you should be sitting or kneeing in the direction of the qiblah.
First of all dua' is something between you and your creator, so if it comes from the heart you may have done it well and be aware that dua' is worship.
- But as in dua' we are addressing Allah to ask HIM something it would be nice and more "polite" to start by praising HIM and being thankful to him, this is based on the hadith from Musnad al-Imam Ahmad which especially hanbali and salafi scholars seem to put a strong emphasize on, even if it seems to have some weaknesses:
“Every important word or matter that does not being with remembrance of Allah is maimed.” (see here a fatwa on the qualification)
But it in this case it is supported by the Quran (7:180) which is recommending to ask and invoke Allah with his beautiful or best names. And ahadith like here in jami' at-Tirmidhi or in sunan abi Dawod.
- There's a also an other Hadith from at-Tabarani's awsat where we are strongly recommended to send blessings to our beloved Messenger (peace be upon him):
Every du’aa’ is kept back until you send blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him
- There's a hadith recommending to face the qibla quoted in sahih Muslim and jami' at-Tirmdihi.
- Raising hands is also recommended (see also how here).
- If one asks Allah he should be certain of being answered.
- Asking frequently and shouldn't get tired of asking or seek a hasty response. A believer should ask his Creator for whatever he wants or comes in mind of the good things in this life and the Hereafter. He should also be firm in his du’aa.
- One should ask beseeching, with humility, hope and fear. As Allah said (7:55)
Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.
There are also ahadith recommending to repeat the dua' three times, others who say that a dua' wouldn't be accepted from a person who eats haram (that means who earns haram and feed himself and his family from this earnings), and as the verse above seem to show one should Ask Allah privately.
For more details read this fatwa.
And Allah knows best!
It is "Mostahab" to begin Duaa by praising Allah, then pray upon the Prophet, peace be upon him, then to ask what you wish:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) heard someone supplicating after his prayer without praising Allah and without supplicating Allah for the Prophet (ﷺ). With regard to him, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "This man rushed." Then he called him and said, "When any one of you have performed Salat (prayer) and wants to supplicate, let him praise Allah first then glorify Him in the beginning and then he should supplicate Allah for me. Then he may supplicate for whatever he likes." [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Also Umar bin Al-Khattab narrated:
"Indeed the supplication stops between the heavens and the earth. Nothing of it is raised up until you send Salat upon your Prophet." Jami` at-Tirmidhi 486
Allah knows you did not know this before, so I hope your previous Duaa is OK.