While there is no one play style that will ensure your success, here are a few tips and tricks to help you out in starting your own world.
Food is a important too! Edit
While water is the thing that is the most affected by landing on a desert island, it is surprisingly easy to come by. I often find myself dying of food once I get some shears and a tree farm going. One way to keep hunger at bay is by taking the needle-gun, killing zombies, and making jerky with their flesh. There is a quest about this and, until you get until higher in the quest-line, is the thing you will get the most.
Work the night shift. Edit
During the entirety of this game, you should be working towards something. Even if you are just sifting throughout the night. you need salt for jerky, and metal for weaponry, so it will actually help you survive.
Is that me? Edit
You should always have a backup clone just in case you fall off of your house. or get eaten by a spider. or step into lava. or- Anyways, this guy (or girl) will make sure you keep surviving, even if it's in another body.