Welcome to the site!
I start with charcoal to get the wood going for the long haul to the end of cooking.
The thing I find is that you need to build up a good base of WOOD coals after the charcoal has burnt off to maintain temp for low and slow cooking.
I start mine a good hour before I throw down meat for smoking
As with ANY offset smoker you will have to babysit it at least every 30 minutes.
I'm alway checking mine...normally every 20 minutes to maintain any set cooking time.....
Venting properly is key as well......good luck.....