Clearly, though, some clerks were more conscientious. The following instructions come from St Cuthbert's Kirk Session in Edinburgh, and although not specifically dated, the relevant volume covers 1696-1700.
Directions for keeping a church session book methodicall & in good order
Primo. Let all things be keeped in dependence either by reporting new diligence, or by removing the appointment or continuing the same, or delaying it till such time as shall be convenient, or limiting the time which after follows in the minutes, or laying it aside till further consideration, so that whatever matters comes first in the minutes, let it be either discussed, delayed, continued, referred, recommended or determined. Then afterwards new matters & purposes as they come in the minutes. So keeping up the threed of affairs, it shall cause the session records to be more easie, pleasant, profitable and their conclusions to be more readily & easily found outt.
2. Wherever any session act is made, let it be marked in majusculis and a rational narrative made before it for ane introduction shewing the cause of it.
3. Let the day of the month when the Session is kept be still mentioned.
4. As the sederunt is marked, so let excuses for absents be inserted.
5. Let there be a good margin left in the book in which some of the principall purposes or acts contained in the book may be inserted and be carefull that no blanks blotts or interlinings be in the book, and take a care to page the book exactlie.
6. Give the reason when no session is keeped.