After a couple tries, you will get the hang of it. Everyone does it differently. Generally visible white smoke is a sign of bad combustion. I prefer to have fully lit coals before I put them in my UDS. I fill up the basket with unlit charcoal, you can reuse it so don't worry about putting too much. I then use a charcoal chimney to start about ten to 15 briquettes, this seems perfect for 225 to 250 temperature. Once those are good, white, and ashy, I pour them on top of the unlit basket, place a chunk of wood on top of lit coals, put it all in the drum, close the lid. All exhaust vents are open, I throttle my 3/4" intake ball valve to the half open or less position. It then generally coasts right up to the mid 200's where I like to cook. With the right amount of fully lit charcoal in the drum to begin with, it just seems to start up easier.
My way is hardly the right way or only way. I find it very easy, and while it takes a bit of time to get the chimney going and such, it isn't really a lot of work. I can be prepping meat and doing other things.
Another item that will really turn your UDS into a top notch smoker, and some people will cringe, is some type of automatic temperature controller. I have a BBQguru PartyQ and love it for the drum. It really alleviates a lot of the pressure of trying to keep the temperature right on the smoker, so you can enjoy doing other things during long cooks and have confidence that the food will come out good.
XL Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Platinum, WSM 22.5"