Your steps are right on I never washed after i clayed just because I'm wiping away residue with a microfiber & quick detailer spray then go straight to polish. Every body in here is going to have different opinions and ways they do things. Some of us have dropped alot of bank on products and do a multistep show car detail.
After you clay take a baggy on your hand and go over some of the scratches if you can feel the scratch or catch your finger nail in it most likely a polish isn't going to remove it.
If your not using a rotary or da polisher by getting some nice cutting pads and using a decent all in one cleaner, polish, swirl Remover, and sealant you cab get good results in one step. Optimum, wolfgang, pinnacle, poor boys world offer user friendly all in ones. http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/...low-chart.html
Check out that link theres a flow chart that could help minimize confusion. That's my two cents, happy detailing!