Welcome to the fire - literally!
You have already began to see the true necessities for a stickburner.
The fire needs to remain a small but hot burning fire (after you establish a bed of coals)
White smoke bad - Thin Blue Smoke GOOD! (Thinner the smoke, the cleaner burning the fire.)
Add a pre-warmed split every 30-40 minutes.
A side note: The choice and overall condition of woods will play a role, too.
The species of wood will also impart different intensities of flavor.
Oak burns clean, hot, with a mild flavor.
Maple is slightly stronger.
Burning hickory would be a much stronger impression.
See - you are already on the right path... congrats and keep on burning.
Custom Klose Backyard Chef... of Snot, and a 22.5 WSM
Lang 84 Deluxe kitchen, Lang 60 Mobile - The Damsel II, Lang 48 Patio - The Damsel, Bubba Keg Grill - RIP, Double Barrel Smoker and a BSKD