I have a little offset a lot like yours.
You've got some good advice on the fire so far. Start with lit charcoal (lump or natural briquettes like Rancher or Royal Oak Chefs Select) then add sticks or charcoal as needed. Keep a small HOT fire going. This will provide the kind of smoke (sweet blue) that you want.
I have found that a charcoal basket in mine works well.
Also, I closed off the upper air intake in the firebox access door. This forces the air to come in under the fire and makes temp control a little easier IMO.
Once you get the fire situation cyphered, you're gonna find you have a really hot cooking spot where the firebox meets the cook chamber. I added some tuning plates to mine to help even out cooking temps end to end.
Hope you're able to get everything figured out, and tell us all about it when you do.
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