I load blink > I hit the upload/compile button > it compiles and then I get this error: avrdude: stk500_getsync() attempt 1 of 10: not in sync: resp=0xe0
Serial monitor sees the FTDi ok
Nothing else is connected to RX TX
I have uploaded code to many standalone 328 projects using a USB to serial converter (FTDI). Your wiring in the OP is the wiring that I use, with the exception of, I use a 10K pullup on the reset pin.
328 Vcc >> FTDI 5V
328 ground >> FTDI ground
328 RX >> FTDI TX
328 TX >> FTDI RX
328 reset >> FTDI DTR through 0.1uF ceramic cap.
That has worked, for me, many many times.
Is there anything else connected to the 328 RX and/or TX pins.
Explain the sequence that you use to upload.
Are you sure that you chose the right board and port in the Tools menu?
What core and board did you use to bootload the 328?