Basically I crank "difficulty" way down - one step above easiest. I then set loot-rate to 25%, Zombie spawn rate to max, 18 hour days. Zombies always walk.
There's enough settings in 7 Days to Die that makes just turning the numbers up on all settings counter-productive. Just turning things up to 10 on everything doesn't make it insanely hard - it also really just makes it unplayably un-fun.
My settings allow a little down-time, chance to actually outrun the zombies and get some stuff done, but it's very, very hard and challenging, yet fun to play.
Early on, especially, it's very hard to get some intial crafting and a base set up. Any town or even a lone house will be swarming with a massive mob of zombies.
I hope you enjoy Day 1 of my 2nd attempt.
I am continuously replaying attempts. If I die, I start a new game. I just keep making new games and seeing how far I can get each time.